President Biden in a break with precedent fired the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, a Senate-confirmed position, on his first day in the White House.
Peter Robb, who was appointed to the position by former President Trump and confirmed to the four-year position, was notified by the Biden administration Wednesday afternoon that he needed to resign or he would be fired, Bloomberg Business first reported.
Robb in a letter to the White House said he “respectfully” declined to resign “less than 10 months before the expiration of my term.”
He added that his termination would “set an unfortunate precedent.”
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Labor groups and unions wary of Robb had been pushing Biden to fire him because of his perceived pro-business favoritism over workers, according to Bloomberg.
Robb was involved in former President Ronald Reagan’s dispute with air traffic controllers over an illegal strike that eventually led to the firings of thousands of employees in 1981.
The NLRB is an independent federal agency that enforces collective bargaining laws and manages union-business disputes, according to the Huffington Post.
The same day Biden named Lauren McFerran chairman of the NLRB. She has been a board member of the agency for six years.
While Biden’s decision was cheered by unions, Republicans were highly critical of the move.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., called the firing “unacceptable” and urged Biden to rescind it.
“President Biden’s continuous calls for unity and civil discourse upon taking his oath of office are already proving to be empty aspirations,” she wrote in a statement.
“President Biden’s continuous calls for unity and civil discourse upon taking his oath of office are already proving to be empty aspirations.”
“The Biden administration appears to be rewarding their friends in Big Labor on day one through this inappropriate demand. … I urge President Biden to rescind this ill-advised and divisive action against a Senate-confirmed official and allow General Counsel Robb to finish the job he was appointed to do independently and free from political influence.”
Conversely, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., applauded the move as “strong action” on the part of Biden.
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