Board Chair: We Have a Duty to Keep Working: Ben James of Law360 ($$) reports that yesterday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a hearing concerning pending nominations to the National Labor Relations Board. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) stated that an executive committee meeting would be held on May 22 in order to determine whether the nominees should be sent to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Chair Mark Gaston Pearce lamented that, in the interim, the Board owes the public a duty to keep working.
"Historically, the NLRB has functioned in the wake of constitutional challenges," he said. "We were born of controversy. In 1935 through 1937, our legitimacy was challenged in the courts. We continued to function, and when the Supreme Court finally decided the issue, we still had managed to serve the public. But most importantly, we owe it to the public to continue to work."
The Board’s legitimacy is under attack from several angles, with some Senators and House Members attempting to introduce legislation to shut the Board down until a full quorum has been validly appointed. Further, the 3rd Circuit ruled yesterday that President Obama’s recess appointments were constitutionally-invalid, joining the D.C. Circuit in finding that the Board did not have a quorum to act for quite some time. We will keep you posted as the nomination process moves towards a confirmation vote.
Right to Work Foundation Lobs ULP Allegations: Chris Sikich of the Indianapolis Star writes that the National Right to Work Foundation has filed unfair labor practice charges against Domtar Paper Co., alleging that the company has violated Indiana’s "right to work" law by forcing employees to pay union dues. Under the law, nonunion members cannot be forced to pay union dues. However, the Right to Work Foundation believes that that is exactly what is happening at Domtar.
“Teamster union officials are extracting full union dues from workers who want to exercise their rights under Indiana’s popular new right to work law,” said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, in a prepared statement. “This illegal action must stop.”
Domtar could not immediately be reached for comment. Indiana’s law is relatively new and only affects contracts signed after March 14, 2012. We will keep you posted on these pending charges.
Board Certifies Georgetown Adjuncts Union: Penny Hung of the Georgetown Hoya reports that this past Monday, the National Labor Relations Board certified the Service Employees International Union as the official representative of adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. The faculty voted May 3 on whether or not to be represented by the SEIU, with a large majority voting in favor of unionization. The SEIU will now meet with university officials in order to negotiate a new contract for the newly-unionized adjuncts.