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National Labor Relations Board seal
Thanks to Republican obstruction, a bizarrely sweeping appeals court decision, and the Senate punting on meaningful filibuster reform, the National Labor Relations Board is operating under massive uncertainty, having the quorum it needs to function at all only due to recess appointments that the court decision declared invalid (by a logic that would invalidate hundreds of past recess appointments). The stakes for workers and labor law are high, the AFL-CIO executive council notes:
As long as Noel Canning [the appeals court decision invalidating the recess appointments] stands, any employer can delay liability for violating the NLRA by challenging the NLRB’s decision in the District of Columbia Circuit, because that court is deferring action on all NLRB cases pending Supreme Court review of the Noel Canning decision. As a practical matter, this means the NLRB will not be able to enforce the law effectively for workers unless and until the Supreme Court reverses Noel Canning, the District of Columbia Circuit unfreezes pending cases, and those cases are decided—probably well into 2015. In the meantime, employers escape liability for violating the law. And they are brazenly and outrageously trying to exploit and extend the logic of Noel Canning to challenge elections, injunctions and other actions by the NLRB, causing further chaos and uncertainty for workers.
The AFL-CIO is calling on President Obama to renominate the recess appointees and to nominate the two Republicans needed to fill out the NLRB, and for the Senate to confirm them. That won't undo the uncertainty imposed on decisions under the recess appointees by the D.C. appeals court, but it will at least allow for the enforcement of labor law moving forward. And, once the president has made nominations, the labor federation's executive council insists:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must use every means available to win confirmation of this package of nominees. If Senate Republicans exploit the Senate rules and try to filibuster the President’s nominees, Senator Reid should take all necessary steps to overcome the filibuster, and if not successful, lead an effort to change Senate rules so the President’s nominees cannot be blocked by the minority.
Tell Harry Reid: Re-open filibuster reform in light of continued Republican obstructionism.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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