Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NLRB Back to Full Strength? By No Means a Sure Thing

President Bush has indicated his intention to submit nominees to fill the three vacancies on the five member National Labor Relations Board. Two are members whose terms recently expired, former Chairman Robert Battista (R) and former member Dennis Walsh (D). The third, Jerry Morales (R), is currently a management side labor lawyer from Phoenix. See the Personnel Announcement from the White House for more biographical information.

Whether or not these appointees make it through the confirmation process or at least make it to Board via the possibility of a recess appointment remains to be seen. Getting members confirmed to the Board has not been easy during non-election years, usually requiring a negotiated "package".

In an election year, those kind of deals are even harder to come by even though the Board currently is operating without a quorum. A couple of possibilities would be recess appointments which would expire at the end of the Congressional term, or a deal involving 2 new members which would get the Board back to 4.

Or perhaps the recent surge of bipartisan action that seems to have overcome at least some parts of Congress with respect to a stimulus package might carry over to these appointments.

Maybe, but I wouldn't put much money on it.


We welcome the President’s decision to nominate individuals so that the NLRB can resume its duties. We remain hopeful that the Senate will consider these nominees and their records in a measured and reasoned way. However, given the Chairman’s early sentiments, we are not holding our breath.
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