Obama to Nominate Package of Labor Board Members

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is nominating three candidates for full terms on the National Labor Relations Board, which has been in limbo since a federal appeals court invalidated his recess appointments to the agency.

    Obama on Tuesday urged the Senate to move swiftly in confirming the members — two Republicans and one Democrat — along with two other Democrats he nominated in February. That would fill all five seats on the board.

    But it is not clear whether Republicans will go along with the package of nominees. The labor board has been a partisan lightning rod during Obama’s presidency, with Republican lawmakers and business groups furious over decisions and rules they say are aimed at helping labor unions win more members.

    The move comes as House Republicans prepare to vote this week on a measure that would effectively shut down the board until it has permanent members confirmed by the Senate.

    A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in January that Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on the board. Since then, Republicans have claimed the board lacks any legitimacy to act.

    The White House has insisted the appeals court decision is wrong and plans to appeal it to the Supreme Court. But the ruling has prompted employers in more than 100 cases to claim the board lacks authority to take action against them because two of its members are not there legitimately. It also has frustrated labor unions who worry the board can’t crack down on unfair labor practices.

    Obama is renominating board Chairman Mark Pearce, a Democrat, and nominating two new Republicans to the board — management-side lawyers Harry I. Johnson, III and Philip A. Miscimarra.

    The president had also nominated Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to full terms on the board in February. They have been sitting on the board since January 2012, when Obama made the recess appoints after Senate Republicans vowed to block Obama’s NLRB nominees. Republicans complained the board was issuing too many pro-union decisions.

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