Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa praised President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, saying the action “will allow the board to finally move forward.”
Obama installed Democratic nominees Craig Becker and Mark Pearce on the board, which oversees union elections at companies in most industries and collective bargaining for labor contracts. It has often dealt with labor issues in the transportation industry, although railway and airline firms are under a separate labor law.
The president last year also nominated for an NLRB slot Brian E. Hayes, Republican labor policy director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, but did not use a recess appointment to put him on the board.
Becker is associate general counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, while Pearce is a union-side labor lawyer for the Buffalo, N.Y., firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux.
Becker in particular had been singled out for opposition by various business groups and conservative senators, but all three had been among a number of nominees that the Senate has failed to act on.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten that seven of the past eight NLRB members have been recess appointments,” Hoffa said.
The five-person board has had just two members for over two years, which provoked a legal challenge over whether it had a quorum to decide issues. That issue arose last week in a case at the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice John Roberts asked why the recess appointment power was not working.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, last week also said it was “past time” to seat Obama’s nominees by using that power. Hoffa said hundreds of pending labor cases await action at the NLRB.
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