Philip A. Miscimarra is the former Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Phil leads the firm’s NLRB special appeals practice and is co-leader of Morgan Lewis Workforce Change, which manages all employment, labor, benefits, and related issues arising from mergers, acquisitions, startups, workforce reductions, and other types of business restructuring. He represents clients on a wide range of labor and employment issues, with a focus on labor-management relations, business acquisitions and restructuring, and employment litigation. Phil is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and the Wharton Center for Human Resources.
Phil was named Chairman of the NLRB by President Donald J. Trump on April 24, 2017, after previously serving as Acting Chairman and a Board Member. He was appointed to the NLRB by President Barack Obama on April 9, 2013, and was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on May 22, 2013. He was confirmed by voice vote in the US Senate on July 30, 2013, and served from August 7, 2013, to December 16, 2017. Upon the completion of his term, Phil served on the NLRB longer than 26 other board members over the past 30 years.
Phil is the author or co-author of several books involving labor law issues, including The NLRB and Managerial Discretion: Subcontracting, Relocations, Closings, Sales, Layoffs, and Technological Change (2d ed. 2010) (by Miscimarra, Turner, Friedman, Callahan, Conrad, Lignowski and Scroggins); The NLRB and Secondary Boycotts (3d ed. 2002) (by Miscimarra, Berkowitz, Wiener and Ditelberg); and Government Protection of Employees Involved in Mergers and Acquisitions (1989 and 1997 supp.) (by Northrup and Miscimarra); and other publications. He has also testified on labor and employment law issues in the United States Congress.
Chambers USA named Phil one of the leading lawyers for employment law in the United States from 2004 to 2012, based on the views of clients, peers, and other industry professionals. He has been described as a "fantastic lawyer" and "prolific writer," with clients admiring his "multilayered abilities and business savvy" and his "high level of integrity."
Phil participated in nearly every prominent NLRB case decided in recent years. His reasoning—when expressed in separate dissenting or concurring opinions—has been adopted by many reviewing courts and/or in later NLRB decisions. A case in point is Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285 (2018), where the US Supreme Court—consistent with dissenting opinions by Phil and fellow Board Member Harry Johnson (also a Morgan Lewis partner)— held that employment arbitration agreement “class action waivers” are lawful under the National Labor Relations Act. See also Ronald Meisburg, The Importance of Dissent at the NLRB, May 26, 2016 (link).
Prominent NLRB cases in which Phil participated, either in the majority or in separate dissenting or concurring opinions, include the following:
Boeing Co., 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017) (adopting a new standard governing the legality of employer work rules, policies, and employee handbook provisions)
PCC Structurals, Inc., 365 NLRB No. 160 (2017) (reinstating the board’s traditional rules governing appropriate bargaining units, and overruling the prior Specialty Healthcare standard)
Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (2017) (reinstating the board’s traditional standard governing the duty to bargain over changes, and overruling the board’s prior DuPont decision)
UPMC, 365 NLRB No. 153 (2017) (upholding settlements found to be reasonable even though they may fail to provide full relief, and overruling the board’s prior Postal Service decision)
Request for information, 83 Fed. Reg. 58783 (Dec. 14, 2017) (seeking information regarding retention, modification, or rescission of 2014 NLRB changes to NLRB union representation procedures)
Murphy Oil Co., 361 NLRB No. 72 (2014) (dissenting from the board’s finding that class action waiver agreements violate US labor law; Phil’s dissenting views—and the dissenting views of former NLRB Member Harry Johnson—were validated by the US Supreme Court in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285 (May 21, 2018), where the Court for the same reasons held that class action waiver agreements are lawful under the National Labor Relations Act
William Beaumont Hospital, 363 NLRB No. 162 (2016) (dissenting views set forth a new standard governing work rules and employment policies, which were adopted by the board majority in Boeing referenced above)
Macy’s, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 4 (2014), reversed and remanded, 851 F.3d 35 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (dissenting views advocated overruling board’s prior Specialty Healthcare decision and returning to board’s traditional standards governing appropriate bargaining units, which were adopted by the board majority in PCC Structurals referenced above)
CNN America, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 47 (2014), reversed and remanded, 865 F.3d 740 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (dissenting views regarding antiunion discrimination and successor employer status; Phil’s dissenting views were cited with approval by Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who more recently has been nominated to the US Supreme Court)
Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015) (dissenting from board majority’s expansion of joint employer status)
Banner Health System, 362 NLRB No. 137 (2015), (dissenting from board majority decision regarding requests for confidentiality during workplace investigations)
Total Security Management, 364 NLRB No. 106 (2016) (dissenting from board majority’s adoption of unique duty-to-bargain requirements applicable to employee discipline)
Purple Communications, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014) (dissenting from board majority’s creation of statutory right for employees to use employer email systems for non-business purposes associated with protected concerted activity)
Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (2016) (dissenting from board majority’s finding that university student assistants are employees for purposes of collective bargaining under NLRA)
Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., 361 NLRB No. 132 (2014) (dissenting from board’s adoption of new standard disfavoring NLRB deferral to arbitration awards in cases alleging unlawful antiunion discrimination)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 364 NLRB No. 118 (2016) (dissenting from Board finding that in-store protest and occupying customer service counter constituted protected activity)
Northwestern University, 362 NLRB No. 167 (2015) (declining to exercise jurisdiction over private university football scholarship student-athletes)
Pacific Lutheran University, 361 NLRB No. 157 (2014) (dissenting from new standard regarding NLRB’s jurisdiction over religious institutions and joining in refinement of standard governing when faculty members are non-managerial employees who can participate in collective bargaining)
American Baptist Homes of the West d/b/a Piedmont Gardens, 362 NLRB No. 139 (2015) (dissenting from required disclosure of confidential witness statements obtained during workplace investigations)
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, 361 NLRB No. 12 (2014) (dissenting from finding that single employee’s conduct invoking statutory right automatically constitutes protected concerted activity under NLRA)
Advance Life Systems, 364 NLRB No. 117 (2016), vacated in part, No. 16-1405 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (dissenting from finding that the discontinuation of discretionary, irregular wage increases constituted unlawful antiunion discrimination under NLRB; dissenting views regarding this issue were adopted by DC Circuit, which reversed NLRB majority opinion)
American Baptist Homes of the West d/b/a Piedmont Gardens, 364 NLRB No. 13 (2016) (dissenting from new standard regarding lockouts alleged to constitute unlawful antiunion discrimination under NLRA)
Prominent cases in which Phil represented clients in private practice include the following:
M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 135 S. Ct. 926 (2015), reversing and remanding 733 F.3d 589 (6th Cir. 2013), affirming 853 F. Supp. 2d 697 (S.D. Ohio 2012), on remand from 561 F.3d 478 (6th Cir. 2009), reversing 523 F. Supp. 2d 684 (S.D. Ohio 2007) (lead counsel from 2007 to 2013, representing M&G Polymers USA, LLC in the district court and court of appeals)
Chamber of Commerce of the United States, Coalition for a Democratic Workplace et al. v. NLRB, 118 F. Supp. 3d 171 (D. D.C. 2015) (litigation against NLRB resulting in court decision invalidating 2011 NLRB regulations changing union representation election procedures)
Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. NLRB, 721 F.3d 152 (4th Cir. 2013) (representing members of Congress in litigation against NLRB resulting in court of appeals decision overturning 2011 NLRB regulations requiring employers throughout the United States to post notices regarding unions and collective bargaining rights)
National Association of Manufacturers v. NLRB, 717 F.3d 947 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (representing members of Congress in litigation against NLRB resulting in court of appeals decision overturning 2011 NLRB regulations requiring employers throughout the United States to post notices regarding unions and collective bargaining rights)
University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1982, J.D.
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, 1982, M.B.A.
Duquesne University, 1978, B.A.
District of Columbia
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, Labor Law – Management, Washington, DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2020)
Recommended, Labor and employment: Labor-management relations, The Legal 500 US (2019)
Senior Fellow, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton Center for Human Resources