President Obama's NLRB Appointments

April 27, 2009: The President has announced his intention to nominate two Members of the National Labor Relations Board.

April 24, 2009 press release: here

Both individuals are Democrats. Both are lawyers representing labor unions.

The NLRB normally has five Members, but currently there are only two, one Democrat and one Republican. By law, no more than three can be from the same political party, so the next appointment will have to be a Republican.

Craig Becker:

Craig Becker currently serves as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1978 and received his J.D. in 1981 from Yale Law School where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law. He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law between 1989 and 1994 and has also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools. He has published numerous articles on labor and employment law in scholarly journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law Review, and has argued labor and employment cases in virtually every federal court of appeals and before the United States Supreme Court.

Mark Pearce:

Mark Gaston Pearce has been a labor lawyer for his entire career. He is one of the founding partners of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux where he practices union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies including the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. Pearce in 2008 was appointed by the NYS Governor to serve as a Board Member on the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the NYS Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law. Pearce has taught several courses in the labor studies program at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension. He is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Prior to 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor law and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP. From 1979 to 1994, he was an attorney and District Trial Specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY. Pearce received his J.D. from State University of New York, and his B.A. from Cornell University.

The following is Mr. Pearce's biography as it appears on the Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux web site:

Mark Gaston Pearce has dedicated his career to the practice of labor and employment law. He is currently a principal partner in a firm representing individuals as well as public and private sector labor unions in all matters involving employment and labor relations. Previously a district trial specialist with the National Labor Relations Board and a partner at a major Buffalo law firm, Mr. Pearce has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts and agencies. He also represents clients in civil service and employment discrimination litigation, collective bargaining, contract compliance, arbitration, and Taylor law prosecution. Additionally, Mr. Pearce represents individuals in all employment matters including the negotiation of professional employment contracts, partnership, and severance agreements.

Mr. Pearce is a graduate of Cornell University and State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. He is admitted to practice in New York State and the United States District Court for the Western District of New York in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

In 2007 and 2008 Mr. Pearce was appointed by NYS Governor Elliott Spitzer to the Commission on Increasing Diversity in the State Government Workforce and the Industrial Board of Appeals respectively. He has served on the NYS Office of Court Administration Commission to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice and contributed to its report and recommendation issued in 2006. Mr. Pearce is a member of the Procedures and Practices Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Labor and Employment Law, the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Economic Justice, the WNY Workforce Investment Board, the Advisory Board of the Labor and Employment Relations Association of Western New York (formerly IRRA), The Labor Advisory Board of Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations- Great Lakes Division, Buffalo Arts Studio, the Erie County Bar Foundation and the Council of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. He also serves on the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division 4th Dept. Committee on Character and Fitness, the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO and has served as president of the Volunteer Lawyers Project Inc., the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, and Housing Opportunities Made Equal.

Mr. Pearce is adjunct faculty at Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations and is a member of Cornell Adjunct Faculty -Upstate, New York State United Teachers Local # 37-950 an affiliate of American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO). He is a member of the sections on Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (an affiliate chapter of the National Bar Association), The Bar Association of Erie County. Mr. Pearce has lectured on labor and employment law and given Continuing Legal Education presentations for the American Bar Association , New York State Bar Association, the Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Law Conference, the AFL-CIO, Cornell University and the National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Pearce is a recipient of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York Legal Service and President's Awards; the 1490 Enterprises of Western New York Black Achiever in Industry award; special recognition from the Buffalo Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; the Coalition for Economic Justice Rev. Robert Beck Award; the Communications Workers of America, Western New York Council Eugene J. Mays Citizenship Award and was designated an "Uncrowned King" and African American Community Builder by the Uncrowned Queens Institute. Mr. Pearce is a class of 2000 graduate of Leadership Buffalo and is listed in the 2007 Buffalo Spree magazine's Superlawyer edition for New York State.

By Prof. Ross Runkel, Employment Law Editor for Law Memo, Inc.

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