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ABC Jan. 4 criticized President Obama for undermining the U.S. Senate’s advice and consent role by recess-appointing Democrats Sharon Block, deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs at the Department of Labor; Richard Griffin, general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); and Republican Terence Flynn, chief counsel to NLRB member Brian Hayes. 

“The president’s decision to ignore the Constitution and decades of established precedent is an overt political act that is beyond the pale,” said ABC Vice President of Federal Affairs Geoff Burr. “Under his administration, the NLRB has been transformed from a neutral arbiter of labor law disputes into an activist organization that promotes the special interests of politically powerful unions.”   

ABC denounced the NLRB many times through 2011 for actions that called into question the credibility of the agency, including the Dec. 22 publication of a final rule that limits employer rights during a union election. The controversial “ambush” elections rule created opposition not only among employers and industry groups, but also prompted NLRB Member Brian Hayes to send a letter criticizing the move to John Kline (R- Minn.), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee. Despite the criticism, the two Democrat member of the NLRB still voted the pass the rule before NLRB Member Craig Becker’s term expired on Jan. 1. Becker also was recess appointed by Obama in 2010 after the Senate voted against his confirmation. 

Another NLRB rule, requiring employers to post an 11-by-17-inch notice displaying a list of select employee rights granted by the National Labor Relations Act, was postponed at a federal judge’s request. The rule is the subject of a number of pending lawsuit, including one by the ABC-led Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. It is now scheduled to go into effect after April 30, 2012.