The SEIU, the NLRB & Recess Appointments: A 'Shrewd' Obama Trick?

If you work in the private sector (except for airlines and railroads) the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) is a little known agency that can have a huge impact on your work life.  Given that the goal of union bosses is to turn millions of Americans into dues-paying union members, what happens at the NLRB is of consequence to you, whether you’re an employee or an employer.

Over the weekend, President Obama ‘recess appointed’ two union lawyers (SEIU and AFL-CIO attorney Craig Becker, as well as union lawyer Mark Pearce) to the National Labor Relations Board.  The highly controversial Becker is the only known NLRB member to have gone from employment by a union directly to the NLRB.

[Although current NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman is a former union attorney employed by the Teamsters and Bricklayers’ unions and is considered highly pro-union, she did spend time in other governmental capacities prior to being appointed to the NLRB.]

Obama’s recess appointments of Becker and Pearce has rightfully angered the business community, those job creators whom President Obama claims to respect.

[We have compiled a round-up of commentary here.]

What is very interesting about Obama’s blatant catering to union-boss wishes is his purposeful neglect of his Republican nominee Brian Hayes.  [Hayes was part of Obama’s three-member nominee package last year.]

As über-blogger Bret Jacobson notes on Big Government.com*:

[T]he president has gone well outside the norm of history by failing to appoint a Republican and Democrat at the same time. Some worry he is trying to stack the deck to make sure government can — as they have said in their own words — “change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action” even without passing a card check bill.

Former NLRB member and attorney Peter Kirsanow takes this a step further writing in the National Review:

Lost in the noise concerning Becker’s recess appointment, however, are signals that the Obama administration is playing a rather shrewd longer-term game concerning the NLRB.

As another former NLRB member and attorney, John Raudabaugh, writes on his firm’s website:

More change is imminent. Current Republican Member Schaumber’s term ends August 27, 2010, and current General Counsel Meisburg’s term ends August 14, 2010. It is possible that Becker and Pearce will be packaged along with Hayes and a yet-unnamed Republican nominee for a Board seat and a Democrat nominee to fill the General Counsel position sometime this summer. Such a move would convert Becker and Pearce from recess appointees to confirmed members with the longest available terms all reallocated to Democrats.

As the law firm of Ogletree Deakins asserts:

If those vacancies are not filled, there would be no Board Member to write dissenting opinions to help guide reviewing federal courts on appeal.

Former NLRB member Kirsanow, however, suggests there could be an even more sinister goal of the administration afoot:

[Hayes] was not among the recess appointments this weekend. This suggests that the president may be using the appointment of Hayes as leverage to get the Senate to confirm the original three-nominee package.

Why is this of note? Because recess appointments last only until congress adjourns at the end of 2011. But if the senate confirms Becker and Pearce in exchange for getting Hayes on board also, Becker and Pearce’s confirmed terms would be extended by approximatelythree more years plenty of time for the Obama Board to make a substantial imprint on labor law.

In other words, Becker and Pearce’s appointments may be being used as a trap to lure the Senate (Republicans) into giving Becker and Pearce full terms on the NLRB.  If the Senate falls goes for it, as opposed to mere ‘recess appointments,’ the union bosses at the SEIU and AFL-CIO will have near-full reign on the NLRB for years to come and, as a result, have more damaging effects through an agency that governs nearly every private-sector workplace.

[* Emphasis added throughout.]


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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