On May 16th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will conduct a hearing on the pending nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). All five nominees will go before the committee seeking a vote in an effort to move their nominations to the floor of the U.S. Senate.
The legislative action comes on the heels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit finding that President Obama’s so-called recess appointments of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the Board were unconstitutional due to the fact the Senate was not in recess, but convening regularly in pro-forma sessions.
The President rolled the dice with the recess appointments and lost. The Department of Justice is now challenging the Noel Canning v. NLRB decision in the United State Supreme Court. The White House’s effort to seek a vote on a full slate of nominees to the NLRB is a concession that the previous tactic of bypassing the same house of Congress the President served in was a failure.
Going before the HELP Committee will be the aforementioned Block and Griffin, but also Board Chairman Mark Pearce, and Republican nominees Harry I. Johnson III and Philip A. Miscimarra. Johnson currently serves as a partner with Arent Fox LLP, while Miscimarra is a partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and a senior fellow at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The hearing later his month will offer Senators a unique opportunity to ask the current members of the Obama Labor Board tough questions about their background, and how and why they reached certain decisions.
With regard to Griffin, being he has never actually been vetted, it seems reasonable to query why he is suited for a taxpayer-funded job serving in a role akin to a judge refereeing disputes between labor and businesses in the private sector considering as general counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), he was the chief legal representative for a union whose locals were overrun by organized crime.
According to Fox News, “[t]he rap sheet for members of the International Union of Operating Engineers reads like something out of Goodfellas. Embezzlement. Wire fraud. Bribery. That’s just scratching the surface of crimes committed by the IUOE ranks.”
“Public documents…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.”