NLRB nominee John Ring said today that he would furnish a list of cases before the board involving his law firm, Morgan Lewis, to avoid a conflict-of-interest dustup similar to one that recently surrounded NLRB member Bill Emanuel, per a report on POLITICO.
“I do not want to be put in the same position that member Emanuel finds himself in,” Ring said at his confirmation hearing today.
The labor board ruled Monday that Emanuel, a Trump appointee, should not have participated in its December Hy-brand decision on joint employment because his former law firm, Littler Mendelson, participated in the 2015 NLRB case that Hy-brand overturned.
Ring promised the “first thing” he would do, if confirmed, would be to familiarize himself with the NLRB’s ethics process. He also pledged, repeatedly, to look at any joint-employer case that came before the board with “an open mind.”
Senate Democrats grilled Ring over his work for Morgan Lewis, which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) characterized as a “notoriously anti-union law firm.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee, claimed Ring had spent his career “representing the interests of companies, not workers.”
“After years of aiding corporate management in skirting worker protections, I find it difficult to believe that you’ll be able to uphold that core mission of the NLRA,” Murray said, referencing the National Labor Relations Act.
Ring defended his law firm, which he said he chose “very carefully,” considering “reputation and approach to labor-management relations.” When asked about General Counsel Peter Robb’s controversial proposed reorganization of the NLRB’s regional structure, which would demote regional managers, Ring noted that “what he’s proposing would require board action.”
The committee is scheduled to vote on Ring’s nomination on March 7.