President Nominates Two for NLRB Posts

By December 15, 2011Labor Unions

Last night, President Obama announced his picks for the two Democratic vacancies to the National Labor Relations Board. You may recall, Member Craig Becker’s recess appointment expires on December 31, which will reduce Board membership down to two and render the Board incapable of issuing case decisions or new rules. The five-member board is comprised of three seats for the party of the President and two seats for the opposition. The President nominated Terence Flynn in January to fill the open seat for the opposition.

The President’s nominees are Sharon Block, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs a the Department of Labor and Richard Griffin, General Counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and serves on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.

The NAM is certainly interested in learning more about the backgrounds of these nominees and will be updating our members on what we find out. At first blush, it is concerning the President has tapped yet another union general counsel for membership to the NLRB, but we will reserve judgment until we learn more about the positions and temperament of Mr. Griffin. This process has just begun and Ms. Block and Mr. Griffin have not submitted any paperwork to the Senate yet. In fact, they don’t appear to have been vetted in any meaningful way to this point.

There is some chatter about the possibility of recess appointments being attempted by President Obama to get nominees seated on the Board, but if the House stays in session, as Leadership has indicated they intend, it would be questionable whether the recess appointments could hold up under constitutional scrutiny. This holiday season is shaping up to be one to remember – stay tuned.

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