Biden nominates Jennifer Abruzzo to serve as NLRB general counsel
President Biden on Wednesday announced plans to nominate Jennifer Abruzzo, a lawyer for Communication Workers of America, to serve as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Abruzzo previously served as deputy general counsel and acting general counsel at the NLRB and is currently the special counsel to the Communication Workers of America, the country’s largest communications and media labor union.
If confirmed, Abruzzo will replace Trump-era NLRB general counsel Peter Robb, whom Biden forced out after he refused to resign when the new president took office last month. Biden’s decision to remove Robb was unexpected and generated Republican backlash.
“A tested and experienced leader, Abruzzo will work to enforce U.S. labor laws that safeguards the rights of workers to join together to improve their wages and working conditions and protect against unfair labor practices,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday that noted Abruzzo’s more than two decades of experience working in various capacities for the NLRB.
“Abruzzo will be an important member in supporting the NLRB’s work to build a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that delivers every American a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead,” the statement read.
The announcement came as Biden was preparing to meet with labor leaders in the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon regarding his coronavirus relief proposal and infrastructure.
The NLRB is an independent agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing U.S. labor laws, protecting employees’ rights to organize and preventing unfair labor practices.
Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), cheered Abruzzo’s nomination, describing her as someone who has “tirelessly fought for working people her entire career.”
“Even as workers have stepped up to the plate throughout this pandemic, we’ve been denied basic federal protections time and again. Today, is another step toward righting the wrongs of the past four years. The days of the NLRB actively blocking workers from organizing a union are over. We look forward to working people finally getting the fair treatment we deserve,” Trumka said.
Abruzzo will need to be confirmed by the 50-50 split Senate, where Democrats have a slight majority with Vice President Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Biden has already appointed Lauren McFerran to serve as chair of the NLRB. She has been a member of the board since 2014 and last year was confirmed for another term expiring at the end of 2024.
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