List of Chairs of the National Labor Relations Board
Appointment and duties
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has five Members, each of whom serves for a five-year term. Terms are staggered so that one Member's term expires each year (although delays in nominations and confirmation, as well as the use of recess appointments, can upset this schedule). Members are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Traditionally, a majority of the board belongs to the President's political party. The President designates the Chair from one of the existing Members. The Chair serves at the pleasure of the President, and may be demoted without cause or warning at any time.
The Chair's powers are limited. The Chair, like other Board Members, has a chief legal counsel and a legal staff. Except for certain limited and purely administrative functions (such as being the recipient of appeals or Freedom of Information Act requests), one former NLRB Chair has said "the chairmanship—given the authority of the general counsel to appoint regional staff and recommend regional directors to the entire Board (not just to the chairman)—is more like a bully pulpit than a position of authority." The Chair does, however, work with the Office of Management and Budget to craft the NLRB's budget proposal to Congress, may propose to the Board changes to NLRB procedures and guidance manuals, and may propose that the Board engage in rulemaking.
Changing politics of appointments
From 1935 to 1953, it was customary for the Chair (like all Members of the NLRB) to be a neutral career government employee rather than an advocate of either labor unions or management. President Dwight Eisenhower's appointment of Guy Farmer in 1953 broke this two-decade-old tradition (Farmer was a management attorney). Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson both returned to the tradition of appointing neutral third parties to the position of Board Chair, but President Richard M. Nixon appointed a management-side attorney. The Board as a whole was under intense Congressional scrutiny from its inception until the 1960s. This ended in the 1960s and 1970s, but resumed in the 1980s. Subsequent appointments to the position of Chair have been heavily partisan and from either a strongly pro-union or pro-management position.
List of chairs
|Name||Political Affiliation||Dates of Service||Notes|
|J. Warren Madden||Democrat||08/27/35 - 08/26/40|
|Harry A. Millis||Democrat||11/26/40 - 07/04/45|
|Paul M. Herzog||Democrat||07/05/45 - 06/30/53|
|Guy Otto Farmer||Republican||07/13/53 - 08/27/55|
|Boyd S. Leedom||Republican||11/02/55 - 03/06/61|||
|Frank W. McCulloch||Democrat||03/07/61 - 06/02/70|
|Edward B. Miller||Republican||06/03/70 - 12/16/74|
|Betty S. Murphy||Republican||02/18/75 - 04/13/77|||
|John H. Fanning||Democrat||04/14/77 - 08/14/81|||
|John R. Van de Water||Republican||08/18/81 - 12/16/82|
|John C. Miller||Republican||12/27/82 - 03/07/83|||
|Donald L. Dotson||Republican||03/07/83 - 12/16/87|
|James M. Stephens||Republican||12/17/87 - 03/06/94|||
|William B. Gould IV||Democrat||03/07/94 - 08/27/98|||
|John C. Truesdale||Democrat||12/04/98 - 05/14/01|||
|Peter J. Hurtgen||Republican||05/15/01 - 08/01/02|||
|Robert J. Battista||Republican||12/17/02 - 12/16/07|
|Peter C. Schaumber||Republican||03/19/08 - 01/19/09|||
|Wilma B. Liebman||Democrat||01/20/09 - 08/27/11|||
|Mark Gaston Pearce||Democrat||08/28/11 - present|||
- "Board Members Since 1935." National Labor Relations Board. No date. Accessed 2010-02-06.
- "National Labor Relations Board." Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History. Eric Arnesen, ed. New York: CRC Press, 2007. ISBN 0-415-96826-7
- Gould IV, William B. Labored Relations: Law, Politics, and the NLRB—A Memoir. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN 0-262-57155-2
- Flynn, Joan. "A Quiet Revolution at the Labor Board: The Transformation of the NLRB, 1935-2000." Ohio State Law Journal. 61:1361 (2000).
- Strauss, Peter. "The Place of Agencies in Government: Separation of Powers and the Fourth Branch." Columbia Law Review. 84:573 (1984).
- "National Labor Relations Board." 20 F.R. 2175. Accessed 2010-02-07.
- Gould, Labored Relations: Law, Politics, and the NLRB—A Memoir, 2001, p. 120.
- Gould, Labored Relations: Law, Politics, and the NLRB—A Memoir, 2001, p. 52.
- Gross, James A. The Making of the National Labor Relations Board: A Study in Economics, Politics, and the Law. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1974. ISBN 0-87395-270-7; Bernstein, Irving. The Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker 1933-41. Paperback ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1970. ISBN 0-395-11778-X (Originally published 1969.)
- Five of President Eisenhower's appointees to the Board during his administration were neutral career bureaucrats, while two were management-side attorneys. Eisenhower also broke the tradition of appointing neutral parties to the position of General Counsel of the NLRB, appointing three management-side attorneys and one career government attorney to the position. See: Gross, James A. Broken Promise: The Subversion of U.S. Labor Relations Policy, 1947-1994. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 2003. ISBN 1-59213-225-1; Flynn, "A Quiet Revolution at the Labor Board: The Transformation of the NLRB, 1935-2000," Ohio State Law Journal, 2000.
- Bodah, Matthew M. "Congress and the National Labor Relations Board: A Review of the Recent Past." Journal of Labor Research. 22:4 (December 2001).
- Boyd S. Leedom also served as a Member of the NLRB from April 4, 1955 to December 16, 1964.
- Betty S. Murphy also served as a Member of the NLRB from February 18, 1975, to December 14, 1979.
- John H. Fanning also served as a Member of the NLRB from December 20, 1957, to December 16, 1982.
- John C. Miller also served as a Member of the NLRB from December 23, 1982, to March 7, 1983.
- James M. Stephens also served as a Member of the NLRB from October 16, 1985, to August 27, 1995.
- William B. Gould IV also served as a Member of the NLRB from March 7, 1994, to August 27, 1998.
- John C. Truesdale also served as a Member of the NLRB on several occasions: October 25, 1977, to August 27, 1980; October 23, 1980, to January 26, 1981; January 24, 1994, to March 3, 1994; December 23, 1994 to January 3, 1996; and December 4, 1998, to October 1, 2001. Truesdale served as Chair under a recess appointment from December 4, 1998, to November 19, 1999. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 19, 1999, and resigned as Chair on May 14, 2001. He continued to serve as a Member of the NLRB until October 1, 2001.
- Peter J. Hurtgen also served as a Member of the NLRB from November 14, 1997, to August 1, 2002. Hurtgen served as Chair under a recess appointment from May 15, 2001.
- Peter C. Schaumber also served as a Member of the NLRB from December 17, 2002 to August 27, 2005, and again from September 1, 2005 to August 27, 2010.
- Wilma B. Liebman also served as a Member of the NLRB from November 14, 1997, to January 19, 2009.
- Greenhouse, Steven. "Labor Board's Exiting Leader Responds to Critics." New York Times. August 29, 2011.
- Mark Gaston Pearce served a recess appointment as a Member of the NLRB from April 7, 2010, to June 21, 2010. He was confirmed by the Senate to a five-year term on June 22, 2010.