Governor Moore Announces Public Employee Relations Board Appointments

Published: 8/1/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Public Employee Relations Board. Erica Snipes, who previously served as shared executive director of the Public School Labor Relations Board, the State Higher Education Labor Relations Board, and the State Labor Relations Board, has been selected to serve as Acting Executive Director.

“State employees dedicate their lives to improving the delivery of public services for all Marylanders,” said Gov. Moore. “The Public Employee Relations Board will streamline the labor laws that impact these vital employees to make sure state workers receive the protections they deserve.”

The Public Employee Relations Act established the Public Employee Relations Board, which oversees collective bargaining activities for certain public employees in Maryland. The act repeals the State Labor Relations Board, the State Higher Education Labor Relations Board, and the Public School Labor Relations Board, consolidating their duties under the new board.

The Public Employee Relations Board consists of five members that are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Impacted public employees and employers will have an opportunity to present shortlists of prospective candidates to fill two positions each on the board. 

Appointments to the Public Employee Relations Board include:

Michael J. Hayes, Chair
Michael J. Hayes most recently served as attorney/advisor to the chair of the National Labor Relations Board. He previously served for nearly four years as director and deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. 

He has practiced employment and labor law for seven years at Sherman, Dunn, Cohen, Leifer & Yellig, P.C. Hayes has more than 20 years of experience teaching labor law and is a member of the University of Baltimore School of Law faculty. He also served as a Labor Arbitrator in the State of Maryland.

Harriet E. Cooperman
Harriet E. Cooperman is a partner in Saul Ewing L.L.P. and past chair of the firm’s labor and employment group. She was a member and former chair of the Maryland State Higher Education Labor Relations Board and has taught labor law and employment discrimination law as an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. 

Cooperman is a former chair of the section on labor and employment law of the Maryland State Bar Association and former chair of the Employer-Employee Relations Committee of the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Richard Steyer
Richard Steyer practiced law for more than 40 years in the Washington, D.C. area, including 38 years in private practice after working as an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board. In private practice, and as a founding member of the firm Howe, Anderson & Steyer, Richard represented associations and businesses in the areas of labor relations and collective bargaining. He also served as general counsel to non-profit organizations, including charitable, educational, and scientific organizations. 

He is a retired member of the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and New York bars. Richard also served as past chair of the State Labor Relations Board, where he served for more than 4 years.

Judith Rivlin
Judith Rivlin is the Impartial Umpire for the Seafarers International Union Appeals Board and is a mediator for cases for the AFL-CIO. She previously served as general counsel for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. 

Rivlin served in counsel and mediation roles related to labor law for more than 30 years, including as an employee for the National Labor Relations Board, as a mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as associate general counsel for the United Mine Workers of America.

Lynn Ohman
Lynn Ohman, now retired, directed collective bargaining and advocacy services for the National Education Association for 25 years, providing financial support and other resources for legal cases involving education employee rights; the establishment and expansion of collective bargaining rights for public employees in Kentucky and New Mexico; and working in coalition with other public sector unions to create new health benefit insurance options for public school employees.

Lynn served on the boards of the Annapolis Film Festival, the D.C. Cooperative Housing Coalition, and as president of the Shoreham West Cooperative Association in Washington, DC. For 10 years she volunteered with the U.S. Naval Academy Command and Seamanship Training Squadron, training Midshipmen in offshore sailing and small group leadership. She is a graduate of Scripps College and Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.