The Biden Administration has fired four people, including two in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) who were appointed by former President Donald Trump.
The firings break a precedent where presidents of both parties have allowed the general counsel to finish their terms.
Peter Robb, who served as the board’s general counsel, was asked to step down by the Biden Administration. Robb refused, calling the request “unprecedented since the nascence of the National Labor Relations Act” and saying his removal “would set an unfortunate precedent,” in a letter he wrote to the White House, according to the Washington Post.
Biden told Robb if he didn’t step down by 5 p.m. Thursday he would be fired. By 10 p.m., the NLRB’s online organizational chart had listed Robb’s position as vacant.
Robb was not well-liked while he held the position; labor groups and congressional Democrats celebrated his dismissal. Many saw it as a welcome change from Trump Administration policies that hurt workers more than helped.
The AFL-CIO called Robb’s dismissal the first step toward giving workers a fair shot.
“A union-busting lawyer by trade, Robb mounted an unrelenting attack for more than three years on workers’ right to organize and engage in collective bargaining,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement “His actions sought to stymie the tens of millions of workers who say they would vote to join a union today and violated the stated purpose of the National Labor Relations Act—to encourage collective bargaining. Robb’s removal is the first step toward giving workers a fair shot again, and we look forward to building on this victory by securing a worker-friendly NLRB and passing the PRO Act so all working people have the freedom to form a union.”
Also fired Thursday by the Biden Administration was Robb’s deputy, Alice Stock, who also refused to step down, calling her and Robb’s dismissal uncivil.
“[I]t would be detrimental to the operations of the NLRB for me to resign my position as Deputy General Counsel at this time,” she wrote. “I would have expected a more civil and professional approach to the transition from this administration.”
Also fired Thursday by Biden was Michael Pack, who served as the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media for less than a year. According to Slate, Pack turned the agency into a propaganda machine, despite a mandate against political interference.
“He purged the staff of VOA [Voice of America] and its sister networks, replaced them with Trump loyalists, demanded pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished remaining journalists who did actual reporting on the administration. In a perverse move, he refused to renew visas for foreign reporters who covered their home countries, subjecting them to retribution by authoritarian regimes,” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern wrote.
The final Trump appointee to get the boot was Kathleen Kraninger, who served as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since 2018. According to Slate, Kraninger had no previous experience for the position, but wasted no time scrapping a rule that restricted payday lending and refused to enforce a rule protecting military personnel against predatory lending.
Kraninger also approved a rule allowing debt collectors to harass Americans with unlimited texts and emails demanding repayment.