Adam Abrahms Quoted in “5 Developments That Have Shaped Labor in 2021 So Far”

Law360 Employment Authority

Adam C. Abrahms, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management and Health Care & Life Sciences practices, in the firm’s Los Angeles office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “5 Developments That Have Shaped Labor in 2021 So Far,” by Kevin Stawicki. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Labor law has faced plenty of twists and turns over the past six months, with the National Labor Relations Board's new leadership, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent union access decision and high-profile legislative and organizing battles that captured national attention.

Here, Law360 looks back at five critical labor developments from the first half of 2021.

New NLRB Top Brass

With federal labor law and policy shaped at the NLRB, attorneys said recent changes in the agency's leadership were some of the biggest shifts in the labor law landscape this year.

One of President Joe Biden's first acts in office was to fire the NLRB's former general counsel, Peter Robb, and subsequently appoint Peter Sung Ohr as acting general counsel. Biden later nominated longtime NLRB veteran Jennifer Abruzzo as the permanent GC, who awaits Senate confirmation. …

Management-side attorneys agreed the changes in the agency's top brass are game changing because they reflect the NLRB's overt political nature after Biden fired Robb before his term was set to end. No president has ever fired a sitting NLRB general counsel.

The management bar continues to litigate Robb's firing, as the general counsel's "term of four years" is spelled out in the National Labor Relations Act, attorneys said.

"What's the point of a four-year term for the general counsel if you can never serve it and only serve at the pleasure of the president?" asked Adam Abrahms, an attorney for management-side firm Epstein Becker Green. "This is most significant because it will become a hallmark of what we will see in the future and will only further discredit the agency." …

Active Acting GC

Regardless of what happens with litigation over the legitimacy of the agency's leadership, Ohr's short tenure as acting general counsel has proved to be one of the most ground-shifting developments of the past six months, attorneys said. …

Other observers suggested Ohr's actions were noteworthy because he sought to implement policy changes, unlike previous acting GCs who had functioned mainly as administrators who kept the agency running.

"Ohr has tried to seize his 15 minutes of fame to create a very pro-union name for himself," Epstein Becker's Abrahms said. "These are the types of things you should have seen not from an acting GC, but a confirmed GC." …

PRO Act

While the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the sweeping labor law overhaul passed by the House in March that is awaiting Senate action, shows little signs of success, experts said it nonetheless reflects a newfound commitment by unions and advocates to changing labor law. …

Abrahms said the bill simply being on the table is yet another reminder of the labor unions' influence on the Democratic Party.

"The mere fact that the PRO Act is of a high priority tells you a lot about the state of organized labor and the Democrats' commitment to help organized labor, even at the detriment of a balanced approach or employees' own rights," Abrahms said.