(Rebecca Smith) – My respect for our Republican representatives has risen in the past few weeks as they have successfully parried with the Obama administration’s union-friendly labor appointments and handed the National Mediation Board (NMB) a set back by passing the new FAA funding bill. While this has certainly vacated the front page or the headlines from the main news stations, it is a small victory for employers, and after so many setbacks, it should be recognized.
First, let us look at the controversial appointments made by Obama. The Administration claimed they could make the appointments without the typical congressional review because the Congress was in recess; however, Republicans said, not so fast. They actually were in pro forma, and this was a tradition started by the Democrats during the Bush administration.
Skipping the political maneuvering that is going on, Obama realized that his appointments were now in question due to future litigation and hearings that are already being held, and he has resubmitted their names to the Senate. The nomination submitted reads as follows:
Sharon Block, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2014, vice Craig Becker, to which position she was appointed during last recess of the Senate.
Terence Francis Flynn, ofMaryland, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring August 27, 2015, vice Peter Schaumber, term expired, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate.
Richard F. Griffin, Jr., of theDistrict of Columbia, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring August 27, 2016, vice Wilma B. Liebman, term expired, to which position he was appointed during the last recess of the Senate.
Expect these re-submissions to go nowhere fast as the Administration had trouble with the current appointments during 2010 when they held the majority. At that time, Obama was forced into recess appointments. The bad news is that the current full complement of the board will serve, so businesses can expect a continuation of aggressive pro-union decisions.
The second proof that there might be light at the end of the tunnel is the recent passage of the FAA Bill. The Republicans were able to negotiate an agreement with the Democrats, ending up with the inclusion of this new rule. Union votes under the Railway Act will be triggered when 50% of the employees indicate they want the vote. Previously, that figure was set at 35%, with the majority of those who vote making the decision for all employees.
The unions are crying foul, saying that this is union busting.
I say it is only fair.
(Rebecca Smith is a former Teamster who now owns Taltos Consulting, Inc. and is a lead consultant for the Labor Relations Institute. She volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project and St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.)