The Obama administration’s regulatory onslaught had few culprits that inflicted more damage on American businesses than Mark Pearce. He has served as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board for the past six years, and during his tenure the NLRB became the quintessential example of the regulatory state run amok.
Unfortunately, the board under Pearce’s leadership has created fear that discouraged investment and hobbled economic growth. For this reason, President Trump should not reappoint Pearce when his term on the NLRB expires Monday.
Knowing there would be a newly reconstituted NLRB contributed to the surge in business optimism following President Trump’s election – a surge that continues to this day. Pearce’s reappointment to the board when his term expires would have the opposite effect.
Under Pearce, the NLRB, was grossly anti-employee (particularly private sector employees who did not want to join a union) and anti-business, consistently favoring big labor at the expense of everyday Americans. Pearce was the mastermind for much of the progressive establishment’s anti-business labor agenda – an agenda he pushed without regard for existing law.
By one well-documented analysis, Pearce presided over the most partisan NLRB in history, reversing many years of precedent in about 90 cases, disregarding longstanding labor-management policies, and always in favor of big labor. It will take years for a new board to undo the damage.
For example, Pearce was the architect of the expanded “joint employer” rule, which flipped decades of labor law on its head to make it easier to unionize and sue franchise brands, like the ones I ran as CEO for restaurant chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Simply put, the rule made union organizing easier by allowing labor bosses to organize both franchisers and their franchisees as one entity, rather than having to organize each individual franchisee.
Should this rule survive, franchisers will be forced to take control of their franchisees’ employment practices – they do not control them now – reducing the ability of franchisees to control their bottom lines and run their businesses as independent entrepreneurs.
This has the potential to destroy the franchise business model, which has encouraged countless American small business owners to create jobs and broad-based economic growth. Hundreds of thousands of franchisees in this country live in fear of this rule’s economic impact should it not be reversed.
The joint employer rule is but one example of problems with the NLRB. In addition, many of Pearce’s more pernicious anti-business, anti-employee and pro-big labor decisions live on.
These decisions include:
- Compelling employers to give their employees’ contact information to union representatives, without the consent of the employees.
- Permitting micro-unions. These are small groups of employees when unions are unable to get enough worker support to organize a business’s employee base.
- Snap elections, in which unionization votes occur before employers have a chance to explain their opposition to unionization, depriving employees of the ability to make an informed choice when they vote.
The NLRB has five members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, with the understanding that the sitting president’s party is entitled to three members.
President Obama helped Pearce succeed in implementing his anti-business, pro-big labor agenda by leaving the board’s Republican seats vacant during his term. This padded Democratic majorities, stifled Republican dissent and fast-tracked one disastrous ruling after the other.
During his election campaign, President Trump famously vowed to “drain the swamp.” Fortunately, in some cases, draining the swamp doesn’t take any action at all. By simply allowing the terms of certain Obama-era appointees like Pearce to expire, President Trump can continue to advance his deregulatory agenda and continue the economic boom by allowing his own appointees to deconstruct the regulatory state that Pearce helped create.
It’s no wonder, then, that Democrats are salivating over rumors of Pearce’s renomination. Another six-year term would ensure he could remain a thorn in the business community’s side until the end of President Trump’s second term and potentially put him in line for another chairmanship under a Democratic president.
If Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., comes to President Trump looking to make a deal to keep Pearce in office, the president should reject it.
In fact, President Trump should do something this Trump supporter will likely never recommend again: take a page from Obama’s book. Leave the seat open. Don’t cave to the demands of the Washington establishment that claims to know what’s best for businesses.
Pearce is a trojan horse who can and will sabotage President Trump’s economic agenda from the inside. Even worse, his actions will make it harder for millions of Americans to grow their businesses, provide for their families and achieve the American Dream.
President Trump has unleased record business optimism resulting in a tremendous economic surge. That’s a fact. He’s also keen on the politics looming ahead in the midterms and recognizes the importance of keeping his momentum going full steam ahead.
Renominating Mark Pearce to the NLRB would diminish America’s pro-business, job-growing enthusiasm and send mixed signals to the next generation of entrepreneurs looking to the president for leadership. Respectfully, that would be a mistake.