(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden is nominating US National Labor Relations Board Chair Lauren McFerran for a new five-year term, moving to lock in the Democrat ahead of the 2024 election. 

Reconfirming McFerran this year would ensure Democrats retain a majority on the labor board, even if the party loses control of the White House or US Senate in the November election. Biden appointed McFerran as NLRB chair on his first day in office and on her watch, the agency has issued major union-friendly rulings. 

Biden is also nominating Chicago-based labor lawyer Joshua Ditelberg to a Republican seat vacated by John Ring — who led the NLRB under former President Donald Trump — according to an administration official who requested anonymity to share details before the announcements were made public. Democratic and Republican NLRB nominees are often advanced as a package. If the Senate confirms McFerran and Ditelberg, their terms would expire in 2029 and 2027, respectively. 

McFerran “has had an impressive amount of success moving the NLRB and private-sector labor law forward” and “it’s easy to see why the president wants to keep her at the helm of an agency that’s central to his agenda of empowering workers,” said Seth Harris, Biden’s former top White House labor policy adviser. 

The NLRB has come under attack by companies like Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp., which have challenged its constitutionality. The board’s general counsel is pushing for decisions that would create significant new precedents, such as banning mandatory meetings to talk workers out of unionizing.

Biden has called himself the most pro-union president in US history and is counting on labor support to boost his bid for reelection against Trump, who is competing hard for working-class votes. 

Union voters could help decide the winner of the “Blue Wall” Rust Belt battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that are must-wins for Democrats, as well as competitive Sun Belt states like Nevada and Georgia.

If Trump wins back the White House, it could usher in a major shift in federal policy governing unionizing. Biden has praised union drives at automakers and retail chains, but they have been decried by Trump’s conservative allies. 

Under Biden, the NLRB has eased the process for workers to win collective bargaining if their employer violates the law. In a ruling last August, the labor board established a new framework for unionization elections, making it easier for companies that interfere with workers’ rights to be forced to collectively bargain as a consequence.

--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.

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