In a political shocker, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he will make recess appointments to immediately fill three NLRB Board Member vacancies.  President Obama’s appointees include two Democrats, union lawyer Richard Griffin and Labor Department official Sharon Block, and one Republican, NLRB lawyer Terence Flynn.


Continue Reading President Obama Announces Three NLRB Recess Appointments

President Barack Obama recently announced that he intends to nominate Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).

Block and Griffin (both lawyers) have significant experience working to advance organized labor policies.  Block is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.  She was previously a senior labor counsel for the Senate Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions Committee and worked for Senator Edward Kennedy during that time.  Block also served at the NLRB as an attorney.  Griffin is the general counsel for the International Union of Operating Affairs, and he is a member of the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.


Continue Reading President Obama Unveils Two Nominees For The National Labor Relations Board

In response to President Obama’s re-nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board, all forty-seven Republicans in the U.S. Senate submitted a letter to Mr. Obama on February 1 urging him to withdraw Becker’s nomination.  Becker’s July 2009 nomination to the Board failed in the Senate in the spring of 2010, but the President gave Becker a controversial recess appointment that allows him to serve from his swearing-in on April 5, 2010 until the end of the Senate’s 2011 session, despite the Senate’s rejection of his nomination.  President Obama’s re-nomination of Becker, if successful, would allow Becker to serve until December 16, 2014.

Continue Reading Republican Senators Oppose Becker’s Re-Nomination To The Board

Andrew Stern’s sudden resignation as International President of the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) took the labor world by surprise and sparked debate about his legacy and the future of the nation’s largest and most politically powerful labor union.  The selection of SEIU Executive Vice-President Mary Kay Henry as his successor has sparked an equally intense debate about the direction she is likely to take SEIU in the future.  Many had assumed that Anna Burger, SEIU’s Secretary − Treasurer and Chair of Change to Win − not to mention Stern’s longtime protégé − was all but guaranteed the job.  However, Henry’s candidacy grew support among the members of SEIU’s Executive Council when she promised to “heal rifts” within the union caused by internal debate over Stern and the long-term viability of his organizing philosophy. The SEIU Executive Council’s rejection of Burger seemed to signal a desire at the top of SEIU for a genuine change of direction.  Yet, in the days following her election, Henry has sent mixed signals about her true intentions.

Continue Reading Mary Kay Henry: A New Direction For SEIU, Or Business As Usual?

The Wall Street Journal calls him “labor’s biggest weapon.”  His nomination to the National Labor Relations Board prompted Senator John McCain to refer to him as “probably the most controversial nominee that I have seen in a long time.”  When his nomination stalled in the Senate after a heated partisan debate, President Obama was forced to make a rare recess appointment to reserve his position on the Board.


Continue Reading Preparing For Democracy In The Workplace

President Obama’s recent recess appointments to the NLRB leave one Republican among three liberal Democrats.  Should the opportunity present itself, the Board’s new composition will likely result in the overturning of two employer-friendly cases, Register Guard (email policy) and Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. (supervisory status). Overturning either of these cases may produce highly unfavorable results for employers.  The Board already has such an opportunity in Register Guard.  The D.C. Circuit recently remanded Register Guard for reconsideration on a limited basis, but the Board may seize the opportunity to reverse its initial holding.

Continue Reading New NLRB: Employers Watch Out

In a move sure to draw fire from Republican lawmakers and segments of the business community, President Obama on Saturday issued recess appointments to place controversial candidates on the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).  Presidents have constitutional authority to fill vacancies without the advice and consent of the Senate when Congress is in recess, as it is now.

Continue Reading President Makes Controversial Recess Appointments To NLRB And EEOC

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Nominee Craig Becker needed 60 Senate votes to overcome the Republican-led filibuster blocking his confirmation, but he only received 52 votes on Tuesday. Two Democrats, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), went against their party to vote him down in the cloture vote, which failed 52-33.


Continue Reading Nominee Craig Becker’s Appointment to the NLRB is Blocked in Senate

On Tuesday, February 4th, the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee called a rare hearing to question Craig Becker, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). While Becker was approved by the HELP Committee last year in a 15-8 vote, Arizona Senator John McCain (R.) placed a hold on his nomination, keeping a Senate vote from taking place. Therefore, the White House resubmitted his nomination and the Committee voted on Becker again yesterday, before a confirmation vote in the full Senate.


Continue Reading Controversy Over NLRB Nominee Craig Becker Heats up as Proponents and Opponents Race to the Finish Line