Person

Anton Hajjar

Born:

September 12, 1947

Occupation:

Labor Attorney, former general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union, former staff attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), nominee for the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors

Anton Hajjar is a former labor union employee who has been nominated to sit on the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors by President Joe Biden. As of May 19, 2021, Hajjar is awaiting confirmation by the United States Senate. [1]

Hajjar has spent his career advocating for left-of-center labor policy, working as a private attorney for labor unions, a staff attorney at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), an AFL-CIO member union. [2]

If confirmed, Hajjar’s appointment will give left-leaning officials a majority vote on the USPS Board of Governors. Democratic officials have called on the Board of Governors to use the new majority to oust Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, accusing him of attempting to undermine the USPS and sabotage mail-in voting. [3]

Early Life and Career

Anton Hajjar received his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University before receiving his law degree from the Tulane University School of Law. Immediately after law school, Hajjar clerked for the late Judge John Minor Wisdom on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. [4]

After his clerkship, Hajjar worked as a staff attorney at the National Labor Relations Board, a controversial federal government agency that enforces unionization and related laws. [5] Hajjar spent seven years as an NLRB attorney and has since used his authority from his time on the NLRB to push for stronger labor regulations. In June 2020, Hajjar argued that employees should use Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which gives employees the right to engage in concerted actions, to refuse to work during COVID-19 by claiming “abnormally dangerous conditions of work.” [6]

In 2002, Hajjar was elected to the left-of-center American Law Institute (ALI), a left-of-center legal institute which has been accused of broadly interpreting laws to change their meanings through “restatements” of the law. In May 2010, he was elected to the ALI Council, on which he has sat since. [7]

Union Career

After leaving the NLRB, Hajjar went into private practice, working in employment law at the law firm O’Donnell, Schwartz, and Anderson. [8] While at the firm, Hajjar represented workers and labor unions, supporting union efforts and pro-union policy. [9]

After his time in private practice, Hajjar became general counsel to the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 postal workers and retirees. Even the left-of-center Washington Post has acknowledged that the APWU is the most left-leaning of all Postal Service labor organizations, with most employees being represented by the more-centrist National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) instead. [10] The APWU is also an affiliate union of the controversial, left-of-center AFL-CIO. [11]

Biden Administration

In February 2021, President Biden announced three nominees to fill vacant positions on the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, facing pressure to nominate officials who would oust Trump administration-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. [12] President Biden nominated Hajjar to the board, alongside Amber McReynolds, head of the left-of-center National Vote at Home Institute, and Rob Stroman, former Deputy Postmaster General. [13]

In January 2021, Postmaster General DeJoy proposed “Delivering for America,” a 10-month strategy aimed at rescuing the USPS from $160 billion in losses over ten years. The strategy sought to lower stringent requirements for first-class letter delivery, institute a new fleet of delivery vehicles, increase postage prices, and consolidate underused regional post offices. Democrats criticized the proposal as a plan to undermine and degrade the USPS, renewing calls to remove Postmaster General DeJoy and claiming that he was attempting to undermine mail-in voting. [14]

During his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate, Hajjar took aim at the proposal, claiming that “service has to be job one” for the USPS and resisting efforts to change service speed or raise prices. [15] [16] Hajjar was said to be the most critical nominee of Postmaster General DeJoy during the hearings, calling mail delays “unacceptable” and speaking directly against elements of the Delivering for America plan. [17]

Several left-of-center news outlets cast Hajjar’s nomination, alongside McReynolds and Stroman, as an opportunity to oust Postmaster General DeJoy. The left-of-center blog Truthout noted that Hajjar and Stroman’s confirmations would create a balance between Democrats and Republicans on the USPS Board of Governors, with McReynolds, a long-time left-of-center activist, becoming a deciding independent vote on the board. [18]

While Hajjar would not commit to supporting Postmaster General DeJoy’s removal during his confirmation hearing, Democratic officials including U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called on the new nominees to organize to remove Postmaster General Dejoy as soon as they were confirmed. [19]

References

  1. Durkee, Alison. “Biden Nominates Postal Service Board Members Amid Democratic Pressure To Oust DeJoy.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, February 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/02/24/reports-biden-to-nominate-postal-service-board-members-amid-democratic-pressure-to-oust-dejoy/?sh=2c4a04cc2b01. ^
  2. “Members.” The American Law Institute. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.ali.org/members/member/227515/. ^
  3. Sharma, Versha. “Why Does Louis DeJoy Still Have A Job?” NowThis News. Group Nine Media Inc., April 9, 2021. https://nowthisnews.com/politics/why-does-us-postmaster-general-louis-dejoy-still-have-a-job. ^
  4. “Members.” The American Law Institute. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.ali.org/members/member/227515/. ^
  5. “Members.” The American Law Institute. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.ali.org/members/member/227515/. ^
  6. “When Is It Safe to Work?” Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke University School of Law, January 12, 2021. https://judicialstudies.duke.edu/episodes/when-is-it-safe-to-work/. ^
  7. “Members.” The American Law Institute. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.ali.org/members/member/227515/. ^
  8. “Attorneys.” ODSA. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.odsalaw.com/attorneys.php. ^
  9. Bogage, Jacob. “Meet Biden’s Postal Service Nominees, Who Could Add Pressure on Louis DeJoy.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 22, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/04/21/biden-usps-nominees/. ^
  10. Bogage, Jacob. “Meet Biden’s Postal Service Nominees, Who Could Add Pressure on Louis DeJoy.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 22, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/04/21/biden-usps-nominees/. ^
  11. Quinnell, Kenneth. “Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: American Postal Workers Union.” AFL-CIO, April 8, 2019. https://aflcio.org/2019/4/8/get-know-afl-cios-affiliates-american-postal-workers-union. ^
  12. Durkee, Alison. “Biden Nominates Postal Service Board Members Amid Democratic Pressure To Oust DeJoy.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, February 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/02/24/reports-biden-to-nominate-postal-service-board-members-amid-democratic-pressure-to-oust-dejoy/?sh=2c4a04cc2b01. ^
  13. Durkee, Alison. “Biden Nominates Postal Service Board Members Amid Democratic Pressure To Oust DeJoy.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, February 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/02/24/reports-biden-to-nominate-postal-service-board-members-amid-democratic-pressure-to-oust-dejoy/?sh=2c4a04cc2b01. ^
  14. Izaguirre, Anthony. “Senate Panel Approves Biden Nominees to Postal Service Board.” WGN Radio 720. Nexstar Media Company, April 28, 2021. https://wgnradio.com/news/political-news/senate-panel-approves-biden-nominees-to-postal-service-board/. ^
  15. Conley, Julia. “Louis DeJoy Must Be Fired to Save the USPS, Says Watchdog.” Truthout. Truthout, April 23, 2021. https://truthout.org/articles/louis-dejoy-must-be-fired-to-save-the-usps-says-watchdog/. ^
  16. Izaguirre, Anthony. “Biden’s Postal Board Nominees Say Restoring Service Is Vital.” Transport Topics, April 22, 2021. https://www.ttnews.com/articles/bidens-postal-board-nominees-say-restoring-service-vital. ^
  17. Katz, Eric. “New Postal Overhaul Measure Wins Support From Key Republican.” Government Executive. Government Executive, May 11, 2021. https://www.govexec.com/management/2021/05/new-postal-overhaul-measure-wins-support-key-republican/173965/. ^
  18. Johnson, Jake. “Biden Postal Board Nominees Urged to Push for Removal of Postmaster General.” Truthout. Truthout, February 25, 2021. https://truthout.org/articles/biden-postal-board-nominees-urged-to-push-for-removal-of-postmaster-general/. ^
  19. Sharma, Versha. “Why Does Louis DeJoy Still Have A Job?” NowThis News. Group Nine Media Inc., April 9, 2021. https://nowthisnews.com/politics/why-does-us-postmaster-general-louis-dejoy-still-have-a-job. ^
  See an error? Let us know!