Obama moves in recess to fill NLRB posts

Jan. 4, 2012 at 5:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Wednesday named three people to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board positions while Congress is in recess.

The president has the power to appoint officials without U.S. Senate confirmation when the Senate is not in session. But the officials must get Senate approval by the end of the next congressional session.

The Hill said the recess NLRB appointments are intended to avoid a likely Republican filibuster.

The proposed appointments as members of the NLRB include Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin.

Block is the deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Besides other posts, she served as NLRB senior attorney from 2003 to 2006.

Flynn is chief counsel to NLRB Board Member Brian Hayes and was previously chief counsel to former NLRB Board Member Peter Schaumber, among other posts.

Griffin is the general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers. He also has served on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee since 1994, among other posts, the White House said in a statement.

"We can't wait to act to strengthen the economy and restore security for our middle class and those trying to get in it, and that's why I am proud to appoint these fine individuals to get to work for the American people," Obama said in a statement announcing the appointments.

The Hill said the recess appointments are a big victory for Obama's union allies, who had urged the president to use any means necessary to keep the NLRB working. Without the new members, the five-member NLRB would be short of the three-member quorum needed to issue rules and regulations.

But the appointments will further anger Republicans, The Hill said. The NLRB has come under fire from Republican lawmakers and business groups.

"The retail community is disappointed that President Obama chose to bypass Senate confirmation for appointments to the NLRB," said David French, senior vice president for government relations for the National Retail Federation. "The president missed an opportunity to work with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to find consensus choices for these posts."

But the appointments were praised by the Communications Workers of America and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

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