After being nominated by President Biden on February 17, 2021, Jennifer Abruzzo was sworn in as General Counsel of the NLRB yesterday by Chairman Lauren McFerran. Abruzzo will serve a four-year term as General Counsel, spearheading the agency’s investigation and prosecution of unfair labor practice cases and supervising the NLRB field offices in the processing of cases. As the NLRB noted in its official press release, this is the first time in the NLRB’s history that women have occupied both the Chairman and General Counsel positions.
Peter Sung Ohr, who has served as Acting General Counsel since President Biden terminated former General Counsel Robb in January 2021, will remain in the Office of the General Counsel, serving as a Deputy General Counsel.
Jennifer Abruzzo most recently served as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Prior to this role, Abruzzo spent over two decades working for the NLRB in various capacities, with her most recent position being Deputy General Counsel and then Acting General Counsel before former General Counsel Peter Robb was confirmed by the Senate. After her swearing in, Abruzzo said she was “thrilled to rejoin the Agency” and looks forward to working with her colleagues to “promote better enforcement of labor and employment laws.” General Counsel Abruzzo also took the opportunity to express her belief that “vigorous enforcement of the Act will help level the playing field for workers and their freely chosen representatives”.
General Counsel Abruzzo’s opening remarks likely signal what lies ahead for employers. Viewing this development in conjunction with the pending nominations of two union side attorneys to fill vacant seats on the NLRB, one can certainly see that the winds of change at the NLRB are certainly blowing. Stay tuned.