Biden fires Trump-era NLRB counsel

President Biden has fired the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel after he refused to resign.

Biden asked Peter Robb, a Trump appointee, for his resignation on Wednesday. He refused to resign and was fired later that day, a White House spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.

Robb was sworn into the role in November 2017 for a four-year term slated to end this November. The NLRB is an independent agency governed by a five-person board and a general counsel.

In a letter to the White House obtained by Bloomberg Law, Robb said he wouldn’t resign and that his removal would “permanently undermine” the agency’s work.

“I respectfully decline to resign from my Senate-confirmed four-year term appointment as General Counsel of the NLRB less than 10 months before the expiration of my term,” Robb wrote.

The NLRB’s website indicates that Robb’s “period of service,” which began on Nov. 11, 2017, ended Wednesday.

Biden’s pick for the next NLRB general counsel will have to be confirmed by the Senate, and the Democratic pick would work alongside the current board that is made up of one Democrat and three Republicans, with one vacancy. 

An NLRB general counsel hasn’t been asked to resign since 1950, when President Truman asked for the resignation of Robert Denham because of an anti-union bill, Bloomberg Law reported.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, criticized Biden on Wednesday for calling for Robb’s resignation, saying his calls for unity and civil discourse are “already proving to be empty aspirations.”

“The Biden administration appears to be rewarding their friends in Big Labor on day one through this inappropriate demand that NLRB General Counsel Robb resign immediately or be forcibly removed,” Foxx said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Biden has selected Lauren McFerran to chair the NLRB. McFerran had been serving on the board since December 2014 and was confirmed in July for another term ending in December 2024.