Current Issues in Labor Law (LEL702)

Conversation with Harry Johnson III: NLRB Update

Join us as NLRB Board member Harry Johnson III discusses several important and controversial decisions, including: Purple Communications (email); Babcock & Wilcox (deferral to arbitration); Jimmy John’s (discharge for disloyalty) and Pacific Lutheran University (definition of a manager and revisiting exempt status of religious organizations) with:

  • Marshall Babson, Counsel, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
  • Karen P. Fernbach, Regional Director, Region 2, NLRB
  • Gabrielle Semel, Former District Counsel to District One, CWA

DATE:  Friday, February 27, 2015

8:30am – Registration & Breakfast

9:00am – Welcome and Introductions - Esta R. Bigler, Esq., Director, Labor & Employment Law Program, Cornell ILR Moderator

9:10am - Analysis of Recent board Decisions: Purple Communications; Babcock & Wilcox; Jimmy John's; Pacific Lutheran University

  • Harry Johnson III, Esq., Board Member NLRB
  • Marshall Babson, Counsel, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
  • Karen P. Fernbach, Regional Director, Region 2, NLRB
  • Gabrielle Semel, Former District Counsel to District One, CWA

10:30am - Q &A

11:00am - Closing

WHERE: Cornell ILR NYC Conference Center
16 East 34th Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10016

FEE: $160.00 (includes materials and continental breakfast)
CLE CREDIT:   2.0 CLEs – Professional Practice (Transitional and Non-Transitional)

For information on our CLE scholarship policy, call Stephanie Sutow at 212-340-2866, or e-mail


Harry Johnson III

Board Member Harry I. Johnson, III, was sworn in on August 12, 2013, for a term that expires on August 27, 2015. Prior to that, he was a partner with law firm Arent Fox LLP, a position he held from 2010. Previously, Mr. Johnson worked at the Jones Day law firm as a partner from 2006 to 2010 and as an associate from 1994 to 2005.

In 2011 and 2013, he was recognized by The Daily Journal as one of the "Top Labor & Employment Attorneys in California."

Mr. Johnson received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A.L.D. from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Marshall Babson

Marshall Babson is counsel in the Labor & Employment Department in the New York and Washington offices of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. A former Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Mr. Babson's practice focuses on all aspects of labor relations, including litigation, counseling and arbitration.

While serving as a member of the NLRB, Mr. Babson participated in many important cases, including John Deklewa & Sons, Indiana and Michigan Electric Co., and Fairmont Hotel. More recently, Mr. Babson has been engaged in counseling employers regarding the acquisition, consolidation and reorganization of unionized and non-unionized businesses, the negotiation of international labor agreements, and the renegotiation of several industry collective bargaining agreements.

Mr. Babson is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's public policy law firm, and is a Founding Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Chambers USA recognizes him as a leader in labor and employment law, noting that he is "one of the deans of the traditional labor law bar" and "has an encyclopedic knowledge of labor law."

Mr. Babson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

Karen P. Fernbach

Karen P. Fernbach was appointed Regional Director of the Manhattan Regional Office (Region 2) in 2011. Ms. Fernbach began her career with the NLRB in 1977 as a Field Attorney in the Manhattan office. She remained in this position until she was appointed Supervisory Attorney in 1985, and Regional Attorney in 1998, in the Manhattan Office.

Ms. Fernbach is an active member of the Labor & Employment Section of the New York State Bar Association, a liaison member of the Labor & Employment Section of the NYC Bar Association, and has appeared at many legal events speaking on behalf of the Board. She is a member of the Federal Executive Board and a volunteer mediator for federal employee EEO workplace disputes. Ms. Fernbach has taught at Cornell ILR and is currently an Adjunct Professor at St. John's University School of Law, where she teaches both Advanced Labor Law and Labor & Employment Arbitration.

Ms. Fernbach received her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany in 1973 and her J.D. degree from St. John's University School of Law in 1977.

Gabrielle Semel

Gabrielle Semel was District Counsel for District 1 of the Communications Workers of America ("CWA") for the last 28 years. For the last 18 years, she was lead counsel in New York. Ms. Semel retired from her position with CWA at the end of January 2015. Prior to working for CWA, Ms. Semel was a Field Attorney for the NLRB at Region 2 in Manhattan. For the last 15 years Ms. Semel has been a labor member of the Board of Collective Bargaining for the City of New York at the Office of Collective Bargaining ("OCB"), first as an alternate and then as one of the two labor members. Ms. Semel also retired from her position at OCB at the end of January 2015. Ms. Semel taught labor law at the Cornell School of Industrial Labor Relations in Manhattan in the labor program for many years.

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