Wayne R. Gold, a career attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, was named regional director of the Baltimore NLRB yesterday.
The five-member board selected Gold, director of the NLRB's Office of Representation Appeals in Washington, despite strong local support for Albert W. Palewicz, who has been second-in-command in the Baltimore office since 1987.
"I think Wayne will do a fine job, and I'll look forward to working with him," Palewicz said yesterday.
Gold, 48, said he wanted to be "where the action's at" after working almost all his career at the board's Washington office.
He said the vast majority of cases brought to the NLRB are resolved at the local level, and he would "apply the law vigorously" and fairly in a region that includes Maryland, Washington, much of Delaware and parts of Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Gold is no stranger to Maryland. Born in Washington and raised in Bethesda, Gold has lived in Columbia since 1978. He expects to begin work in about three weeks in Baltimore, which has about 34 professional employees and handles some 1,200 cases per year. He replaces Louis J. D'Amico, who retired.
Gold's most recent job involved supervising 12 attorneys and a handful of others. The office he headed handles appeals of rulings by regional directors in disputes involving union representation. The office makes recommendations on each appeal to the board, which makes a decision.
The NLRB is an independent agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. Its five members sit like a court, deciding issues such as whether union elections have been fairly held and whether unions or management have engaged in unfair labor practices.
The 33 regional directors' duties include conducting secret-ballot elections allowing employees to decide whether they want union representation. The directors also decide whether unfair labor practice charges have merit. Those decisions can be appealed.
Earle K. Shawe, a Baltimore lawyer whose firm long has represented management in cases before the NLRB, and John M. Singleton, who represents about 25 unions in the area, said they had written letters of support for Palewicz to the NLRB or its general counsel.
Shawe said the NLRB had a man with depth of experience in Gold, and Singleton described Gold as "a good guy" with whom he had served on a speakers' panel.
Palewicz, the NLRB regional attorney here and a member of the office staff since 1972, was one of at least two internal candidates for the job. Another was Steven Shuster, the acting regional director.