Monday, August 05, 2013

Senate confirms third NMB Member

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
The U.S. Senate on Aug. 1 confirmed Nicholas Geale to serve as the third member of the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a term expiring July 1, 2016. Incumbent Member and Chairman Linda Puchala was also re-confirmed for a term expiring July 1, 2015, and Member Harry Hoglander was re-confirmed for a term expiring July 1, 2014.

President Barack Obama nominated Geale on Jan. 24, 2013. Upon joining the NMB, he will be filling a seat on the Board vacated by Elizabeth Dougherty, who resigned from the NMB on June 2, 2012.

Geale was Director of Oversight and Investigations for Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. His primary responsibilities included investigating waste, fraud, and abuse in government programs, and he worked with agency Inspectors General and the Government Accountability Office in that capacity. He also evaluated and advised the Committee on Presidential Nominees and assisted the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) policy teams in evaluating government programs.

Before becoming Director of Oversight, Geale served as Oversight and Investigations Counsel on the Committee for two years for Ranking Member Michael B. Enzi (R-Wy.). Prior to joining the HELP Committee, he was first an Attorney/Advisor to the Solicitor and then the Counselor to the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor under the leadership of Secretary Elaine L. Chao. In both those roles, Geale assisted the Department in implementing policies regarding over 180 laws under its jurisdiction and managing the Department’s 15,000 employees.

Prior to federal service, Geale had six years of experience in labor and employment matters, general commercial litigation, and alternative dispute resolution in private and public practice, including serving as Assistant General Counsel for WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority). He graduated from Georgetown Law in 1999 and Claremont McKenna College in 1996.

Chairman Puchala is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for a second time. Nominated by President Obama, Puchala was first confirmed as an NMB Member by the Senate on May 21, 2009. She was sworn into office on May 26, 2009. She has previously served as Chairman from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Prior to becoming a Member, Puchala served 10 years at the NMB as a Mediator, Sr. Mediator (ADR), and the Associate Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services. Her prior labor relations experience includes work as International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, and Staff Director, Michigan State Employees Association, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.

This is Hoglander’s fourth term as an NMB Member. He was first confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 1, 2002, reconfirmed for a second term on Dec. 8, 2006, and a third term on July 24, 2009. He has served four times as NMB Chairman, most recently from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Prior to joining the NMB, Hoglander served as a Legislative Specialist in the office of Congressman John Tierney of Massachusetts with responsibilities in transportation issues including aviation, rail and maritime, labor, defense, and veterans affairs.

Hoglander has an extensive background in the aviation industry and labor relations, having flown as a Captain for Trans World Airlines (TWA) and elected Master Chairman of TWA’s Master Executive Council. He was also elected Executive Vice President of the Air Line Pilots Association. After leaving TWA, Hoglander was named Aviation Labor Representative to the United States Bi-Lateral Negotiating Team by then Secretary of State James Baker.

Hoglander was also a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He graduated from Suffolk University Law School and is a member of the Florida Bar.