Former NLRB Member Questions Harry Reid Turning Labor Board Into 'Political Bureau'

NLRB Building

As the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board continues and Harry Reid threaten to use the “nuclear option” if Obama doesn’t get his way, labor law professor John Raudabaugh, a NLRB member under George H.W. Bush shares his opinion:


In a July 13, 2013, The Hill article, “Reid: Low approval of Congress justifies triggering nuclear option in Senate,” Alexander Bolton reports on Senator Reid’s interview by David Gregory on NBC’s, Meet the Press.

Senator Reid suggests a “very, very minimal” change to the Senate’s filibuster rule to enable the President to have the “team” he wants. Apparently Senator Reid either doesn’t know or wishes to ignore that the National Labor Relations Board is an independent agency of the Executive Branch. NLRB Members perform quasi-adjudicatory functions and are not on a President’s “team” or “cabinet.”

Should Senator Reid proceed, it will affirm that our nation’s labor law, the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, must be overhauled to create an Article III federal district court to decide labor law cases. Senator Reid’s efforts to amend the Senate’s filibuster rule will assure that no future NLRB decision will be the product of independent, neutral, apolitical, quasi-judicial review. Rather, Senator Reid’s effort will ensure that the NLRB will be an executive branch political bureau.

 Do not “employees,” our fellow citizens, you and I, deserve some semblance of fairness in the resolution of cases arising under our nation’s labor law?


Moreover, Senator Reid’s insistence on voting on the current five nominees to our nation’s labor law court as a package rather than individually is further evidence of his deliberate attempt to ensure that the NLRB is a political bureau controlled by the White House. If NLRB Members are to perform their duties under our nation’s National Labor Relations Act, they are like and akin to federal court judges and, therefore, should be voted on individually. To vote on independent agency quasi-judicial nominees as a package is to ignore, and sadly, further erode any notion of the RULE OF LAW.

John N. Raudabaugh
NLRB Member, 1990-1993
Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law
Ave Maria School of Law

“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

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