NLRB Chairman Wilma B. Liebman

NLRB Conference Examines Labor Relations Act at 75

With NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman delivering opening remarks, the Oct. 28-29 conference will explore how the National Labor Relations Act fits today's economy and the future workforce.

Unease among business groups about decisions from the National Labor Relations Board is part of a larger debate leading up to the Nov. 2 midterm elections about trade policy and jobs creation. NLRB's task is to oversee labor disputes and union organizing elections in light of the National Labor Relations Act, which was enacted in 1935 during a similar period of "high unemployment and economic distress," the board notes in its announcement of an Oct. 28-29 conference at the George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

"The National Labor Relations Act at 75: Its Legacy and Its Future" will feature seven panels and a keynote speech by Ron Bloom, White House senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Panel moderators will be former board members, the board's acting general counsel, and George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The session likely to attract the most attention will start at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 29, when President Obama's recess appointee to the board, Craig Becker, moderates a panel discussion titled "The Future: How to Adapt the NLRA to a Radically Changed Social, Political and Economic Environment." The panelists are Thomas Kochan, professor of Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Ruth Milkman, professor of Sociology and associate director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York; and Noah D. Zatz, law professor at the UCLA Law School. Beginning at 2:15 p.m. that day is a panel discussing the act's future.

NLRB's deputy general counsel, John E. Higgins, announced recently he will retire after 46 years of service that included two stints as a board member through recess appointments, serving as solicitor of the board, and as inspector general.

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