AFL-CIO Leaders Change Their Tunes on Recess Appointments

By March 25, 2010Labor Unions

Today in The Hill, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka uses hot rhetoric to argue that President Obama should recess-appoint both Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during the upcoming Congressional Easter Recess. Trumka omits from his call to action any reference to Brian Hayes, the President’s third – and Republican – nominee.

It’s humorous to see the AFL-CIO calling for a recess appointment in such strong terms when, in 2006, the union’s leader was so adamantly opposed to using a recess appointment to fill a vacant seat at the NLRB. From the press release, citing then AFL-CIO President John Sweeney:

The AFL-CIO has grave concerns about President Bush’s decision to recess-appoint Peter Kirsanow to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), bypassing the U.S. Senate, where his nomination would have been controversial.

In his column today, Trumka continues:

And recess appointments? Please. Bush made nine recess appointments to the NLRB .

Trumka fails to discuss the reason why President Bush needed to make those recess appointments. During the last Congress, the Senate Majority blocked confirmation votes on the President’s nominees for the Board. In fact, the NLRB’s membership dropped to only two Members when the Majority’s Leadership refused to recess the Senate by initiating a series of pro forma sessions. The move prevented the President from using a recess appointment to fill the posts that organized labor is now supposedly so incensed over.

Again, if labor Leaders are really so concerned with the proper functioning of the Board, wouldn’t the most direct course of action be to urge the Senate to confirm the two nominees unanimously cleared by the Senate HELP Committee?

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