Three Appointed to NLRB During Congress Recess

Contributed by Jeff Risch

It’s official, two Democrats and one Republican have been recessed-appointed to the National Labor Relations Board today (January 4, 2012).  In another move to appease Big Labor’s interests, and sidestepping Senate approval, President Obama named staunch pro-union advocate Democratic lawyer Richard Griffin (General Counsel to the IUOE), Democratic Labor Department official and union activist Sharon Block, and Republican lawyer Terence Flynn to the board. 

In light of this move, the NLRB may now continue to function in 2012.  At year end, the agency lost Member Craig Becker (former SEIU advocate) and was down to just 2 members — not enough to function per the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New Process Steel v. NLRB (June 17, 2010).  The president’s recess appointments allow the board to function with a full 5-member quorum (3 Democrats and 2 Republicans).  Mark Gaston Pearce – D (Chairman) and Brian E. Hayes – R will continue to serve on the board. 

Typically, board members are appointed by the president to 5-year terms, with Senate consent, the term of one member expiring each year.