Yesterday, Joe Biden was officially sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. He wasted no time capitulating to some of his biggest supporters — labor unions.
After taking office, President Biden immediately threatened to fire National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Peter Robb. In an unprecedented move, Robb was given the option to resign by the end of the day, or be terminated.
It’s no secret labor unions have pushed for Robb’s removal. A report by the Washington Free Beacon notes that the “Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which spent nearly $25 million on the 2020 elections, privately lobbied the Biden transition team to sack Robb upon taking office.” The union had sent a memo to Biden’s transition team in December calling for Robb’s removal. The Communications Workers of America also joined the push to oust Robb. When it was all over, the SEIU’s Fight for 15 movement applauded the move, tweeting “Good riddance. Now he’s [Robb] gone.”
But Robb was confirmed for a four year term by the Senate — a term that wasn’t set to expire until next November. Furthermore, a president has not demanded the resignation of the NLRB general counsel in over half a century — even when a different political party has taken power at the White House. There’s concern that this unprecedented move could “threaten the agency’s independent status.”
There’s also concern about the hypocritical message Robb’s termination sends. After all, the call for his resignation came barely an hour after Biden gave an inaugural address that called for “unity” between political parties. In response, Robb wrote:
“It was my understanding that the incoming administration intended to foster civility and unity in this country and in the governing of this country, promising to adhere to the rule of law and enabling its chief law enforcement officers the independence, free from White House interference, to enforce the laws of the United States. A presidential removal of the NLRB’s General Counsel prior to the expiration of his or her term violates these promises and principles.”
It’s remarkable, though perhaps not surprising, that one of Biden’s first actions as President was to start granting union wishes. Unfortunately for workers, it looks like kowtowing to labor interests will be the norm for the Biden administration.