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Labor Board Swears In Three New Members

Wall Street Journal (01/10/12) Trottman, Melanie

The National Labor Relations Board swore in three new members Jan. 9 as Republicans continue to argue the recess appointments made by President Barack Obama are illegal because they say the Senate was not technically in recess. The new members are Democrat Richard Griffin, previously general counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers; Democrat Sharon Block, former Labor Department deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs; and Republican Terence Flynn, who was chief counsel to Republican board member Brian Hayes.

The three members join two others on the board, Democratic Chairman Mark Pearce and Hayes, to restore a Democratic majority and full powers to the group. It recently lost its quorum—and most of its decision-making abilities—when Democrat Craig Becker’s term expired. The board can now resume deciding a backlog of about 175 cases. The board can also continue to make major new rules that shape union-organizing and workplace policies, which it resumed doing last year for the first time since the 1980s, citing a need to modernize and streamline dated processes under the decades-old National Labor Relations Act.