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Levy Ratner

Biden Selects Gwynne Wilcox for NLRB

Wilcox would be the first Black women on the board & has long history of supporting unions

Brian Young's picture
May 27, 2021

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) currently has a 3-1 majority favoring Republicans, but that is about to change as President Biden has announced his pick for a vacant seat on the board.

In his announcement, Biden selected Gwynne Wilcox, a partner at Levy Ratner PC, a New York law firm that specializes in employee rights. Wilcox has a distinguished career in labor advocacy, including working as a field attorney for the NLRB in Region 2 (New York) and working as counsel for 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. One notable case she worked on was a lawsuit filed by the Fight for $15 against McDonald’s. She is also a board member of the Brandworkers, a group working to organize food workers, is on the national board of the Workers Defense League, and is a former board member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee. In addition to her stellar legal career, Wilcox has taught classes at CUNY Murphy Institute and the Cornell Industrial Labor Relations School in New York.

Currently Republicans hold a 3-1 majority on the board, but that is expected to change in the coming months. After Wilcox, Biden will get to select another Democrat in August when Republican members William J. Emanuel’s term ends. This would give Democrats control over the board and allow them to start issuing more pro-worker rules.

The selection of Wilcox was applauded by unions. In a statement, Teamsters General President James Hoffa said:

"The Teamsters are pleased that President Biden has chosen an experienced and capable nominee in Gwynne Wilcox for the existing NLRB opening, as she is someone who understands the importance of the agency in sticking up for hardworking Americans who are just trying their best to support their families. Her experience in the private sector representing union-side clients, as well as her past work as a field attorney for the NLRB's New York City office, gives her a breath of knowledge when it comes to the challenges U.S. workers face in today's climate that few others could match. The Teamsters call on the Senate to quickly confirm her."

If Wilcox’s nomination is approved by the Senate, she would become the first Black woman to serve on the federal labor board, which was created 85 years ago.

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