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ABC members and representatives converged in Washington, D.C., Dec. 5-7, for the 2012 ABC Attorneys Conference. Attendees heard from Obama administration and agency officials, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman Mark Pearce, ABC national staff and labor law experts on the latest developments and insights impacting the merit shop construction industry.

When asked if a decision would be made soon on the controversial Roundy’s case, Pearce replied, “Maybe. It’s ever-present on our minds.” The Roundy’s case surrounds the legal standard to determine whether an employer has violated the National Labor Relations Act when it prevents non-employee union representatives from accessing its property.

Pearce also stated the board will continue to look at potential areas for rulemaking. In the 77-year history of the NLRB, the board has issued only three rules—two of them in the past year.

In related news, a federal appeals court in Washington heard arguments Dec. 5 in one of 14 lawsuits on whether President Obama violated the Constitution in January when he made recess appointments to fill three NLRB vacancies while the Senate was in session. Obama selected Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, along with Republican Terence Flynn. Flynn has since resigned from the board. 

In a case brought by Noel Canning, a Washington state bottling company, lawyers argued the president abused his power and undermined the U.S. Senate’s advice and consent role on nominations when he appointed the board members. Specifically, Noel Canning challenged a labor board decision that it must enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union. The company argues the board did not have a quorum to issue a decision because the recess appointments were invalid.