This week, we were provided another reminder why President Obama’s recess appointments of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were a gross giveaway to the Big Labor bosses who bankrolled his re-election campaign. With the conclusion of Board Member Brian Hayes’ term, the NLRB is exclusively comprised of union partisans who are more dedicated to advancing the interests of organized labor than defending the rights of employees and employers.
The recess appointments of Griffin and Block on January 4, 2012 were inconsistent with tradition and certainly unconstitutional as the U.S. Senate remained in session from December 20, 2011 to January 23, 2012 formally convening once every three days in pro-forma sessions. The President’s action was an executive power grab severely diminishing the Senate’s responsibility to provide “advice and consent” on nominations. Also, the President demonstrated he was in a rush to ensure his nominees were seated as Griffin and Block were named in mid-December. The Senate never had a chance to do its job which is obviously what the President intended.
One has to look no further than Griffin’s background to understand why the White House wanted to eliminate Senate inquiry. Earlier this year, Fox News reported that the former general counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) was a “top lawyer for [a] union tainted by mob ties, history of corruption.” The news report went on to say “Public documents obtained by Fox News show that more than 60 IUOE members have been arrested, indicted or jailed in the last decade on charges that include labor racketeering, extortion, criminal enterprise, bodily harm and workplace sabotage.
“In some of the more egregious examples, federal prosecutors alleged in February 2003 that the Genovese and Colombo crime families wrested control of two IUOE locals, and stole $3.6 million from major New York area construction projects – including the Museum of Modern Art and minor league baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets in Staten and Coney Islands.
“Congress and the American public may never know whether Griffin’s fiduciary responsibilities as general counsel were compromised by the avalanche of arrests, indictments and prosecutions of IUOE members. Griffin did not respond to Fox News’ request for an interview. Before joining the NLRB, he served in various positions at the IUOE dating back to 1983.”
Griffin’s appointment puts a cloud over an agency with vast powers in the private sector workplace.