Two From Big Law On Trump’s Labor List

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
By Chris Opfer and Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

Three lawyers are on the Trump administration’s shortlist to fill a pair of vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg BNA today.

Marvin Kaplan (Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission), William Emanuel (Littler Mendelson) and Doug Seaton (Seaton, Peters & Revnew) are the leading candidates for the openings, which are expected to give the NLRB its first Republican majority in nine years.

The vacancies come as the board is likely to grapple with a number of significant legal issues, including the extent to which businesses and other entities may be considered joint employers for liability purposes and whether “micro-units” of workers within a larger workplace can unionize.

The five-seat board currently has only three members: Acting Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra (R) and Members Mark Gaston Pearce (D) and Lauren McFerran (D).

“No personnel decisions at this time,” White House spokesman Ninio Fetalvo told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail when asked to comment.

Kaplan is currently counsel to the commissioner of the independent OSHRC. He previously served as the Republican workforce policy counsel for the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Kaplan didn’t immediately respond to a message left at his OSHRC office today.

Emanuel, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, is a shareholder at the management firm Littler Mendelson PC in Los Angeles. He has represented business groups seeking to invalidate state laws that his clients say allow unions to trespass on their property.

Seaton represents employers before the NLRB as an attorney at Seaton, Peters & Revnew in Minneapolis — a firm he founded in 1995. He was previously counsel to the Minnesota House Labor Committee.

Seaton confirmed to Bloomberg BNA today that he has applied for a job at the NLRB and that he has had conversations about the board vacancy, although he declined to specify if he’s been interviewed by the White House.

“The board has gone very, very far to the left or to the pro-union side of things, and I’d be happy and honored if I could help bring it back to the middle,” Seaton said.

Zachary Fasman, a partner with management law firm Proskauer Rose LLP in New York, has also been rumored to be considered for a board spot. Fasman sued the NLRB on behalf of business groups seeking to overturn the board’s Specialty Healthcare decision recognizing a micro-unit of certified nursing assistants for bargaining purposes.