NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman Steps Down and Speaks Out

Wilma Liebman, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairwoman and third longest-serving member in the NLRB’s 76-year history, leaves the agency upon completion of her third term, effective August 28, 2011. President Barack Obama named NLRB member Mark Pearce as new Chairman.

In an interview with the New York Times, Liebman speaks out about the fierce attacks on the NLRB since the election of President Obama.

“The criticism is grossly out of proportion to what has happened and what has been done,” Liebman told the Times. “We knew we were going to have a boxing match, but we didn’t expect our opponents to come in with a baseball bat.”

Liebman said her goal as NLRB Chairwoman had been to further the policy of this statute [National Labor Relations Act], which is to further the practice of collective bargaining.

“Some say collective bargaining is antithetical to the economy,” she added. “I don’t buy that at all. This was a statute that worked. It created the middle class. It created good jobs.”

Liebman told the Times that the nation’s sagging economy would benefit from having more, not less, collective bargaining because it would put more money in workers’ pockets. “If you increase workers’ purchasing power, that can create a stronger, more sustainable economy.”

Liebman served nearly 14 years under three presidents; first appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997; reappointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 and again in 2006; and designated Chairwoman by President Obama in 2009.