Mark Gaston Pearce, a founding partner of a Buffalo law firm, has been named chairman of the National Labor Relations Board.
Pearce has served on the board of the independent federal agency since last year and was elevated to chairman by President Obama over the weekend.
His predecessor, Wilma B. Liebman, left the agency after completing her third term on the board. She had served as chairwoman since January 2009.
Pearce was confirmed last year by the Senate to an NLRB term that ends Aug. 27, 2013. He previously served as a member of the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals and was a founding partner of the firm Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen and Giroux. From 1979 to 1994, he worked as an attorney and district trial specialist for the NLRB.
"I am honored to be given this awesome responsibility, which was performed with grace and distinction by Wilma Liebman," Pearce said in a statement. "I will be eternally grateful for her steadfast leadership, scholarship and exemplary service to this agency and the labor-management community. I wish her the best."
The NLRB's task is to investigate and remedy unfair labor practices, as well as to conduct secret-ballot elections to determine if employees want union representation.
The NLRB consists of five members, but two of its seats are vacant. One of the current three members, Craig Becker, joined the board in a recess appointment that is due to expire Dec. 31.