Upon coming to office, President Obama began using the obscure National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to give big payoffs to unions at the expense of business and to the detriment of our economic recovery but at last his incredible abuse of this agency is under scrutiny.
By and large, NLRB is not one of those Washington agencies that get much notice. In normal times, that wouldn’t be a big deal. The NLRB is a federal agency controlled from the White House that is supposed to act as an unbiased arbiter between the business sector and labor unions, its chief job to write rules to govern how business and labor relate to each other. But since President Obama took office he’s thrown out any pretense of his board being an unbiased arbiter and used this obscure agency to implement all sorts of illicit, union-favoring rules at the expense of business and economic recovery and often in direct violation of what the courts have ruled.
At long last, though, Obama’s NLRB is seeing its assumed powers questioned. The most recent reversal of fortunes occurred on April 7 when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the NLRB’s poster rule with U.S. Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph ruing that the NLRB had exceeded its legal authority to force over 6 million employers to post signs advertising unions to employees.
The rule dictated that businesses hang large posters informing employees how to set up a union. The court ruled that the NLRB’s poster rule violated employer free speech as protected by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act because the posters were only allowed to have pro-union information on them.
Obama’s labor agency will appeal the ruling (again) and will hold off implementing the rule until a decision is reached.
That hasn’t been the only smackdown of the NLRB, either. In January, the D.C. Circuit also ruled that Obama’s appointments to the board were made illegally.
The January ruling maintained that Obama exceeded his Constitutional authority with his attempt to use “recess appointments” to stuff the board with pro-union operatives.
In January of 2012, Obama announced that as far as he was concerned the Senate was in recess and proceeded to appoint Sharon Block, Terence F. Flynn, and Richard F. Griffin Jr. to the NLRB. This January, however, the court ruled that the Senate was not in recess despite Obama’s mere claims to the opposite.
Despite this ruling, Obama and his NLRB have proceeded apace with the fraudulent appointees still in place and churning out more pro-union regulations by the day regardless that the court’s ruling puts all the NLRB’s rules and regulatory changes made since last year in legal limbo.
Even more brazenly, after the ruling that his recess appointments were illegal, Obama re-nominated the same people the court deemed illegitimate.
Labor is increasingly agitated by the NLRB’s setbacks. The AFL-CIO released a statement after the poster rule was struck down saying, “The Republican judges of the D.C. Circuit continue to wreak havoc on workers’ rights. After attempting to render the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) inoperable (in the Noel Canning decision), the D.C. Circuit has once again undermined workers’ rights – this time by striking down a common-sense rule requiring employers to inform workers of their rights under federal labor law.”
In February the AFL-CIO warned that it might take out its frustrations on Senate Democrats. At a gathering of the AFL-CIO executive council a resolution was proposed to pressure Democrats on NLRB issues.
The NLRB also made a splash in the news in 2011. One may recall that in a blatantly political move the NLRB ruled that Boeing was not allowed to build a new manufacturing plant in right-to-work state South Carolina. The move was so transparently political that it drove one labor lawyer to note that in Obama’s NLRB, “the willingness to ignore statutory language and judicial precedents is unique to the current administration.”