President Obama announced yesterday plans to nominate two Democrats to the National Labor Relations Board. The planned nominees are Sharon Block, deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs at the Department of Labor, and Richard Griffin, who is currently general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers. According to news sources, both have backgrounds in Democratic policy making.
Currently, there are only three out of five members of the NLRB. However, at the end of the year, Craig Becker’s recess appointment expires leaving the Board with just two members: Chairman Mark Pearce and Brian Hayes. With only two members, the Board will lack authority to issue any decisions or rules.
Once nominated, Ms. Block and Mr. Griffin will have to be confirmed by the Senate. However, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has vowed to block President Obama from making any further appointments to the Board. Moreover, the House Republicans have been taking steps in recent months to prevent the Senate from going into a full recess, thus precluding the President from making any recess appointments. Most expect the House Republicans to continue this practice.