Although it took longer than expected, and required using the recess appointment mechanism, Saturday’s expected announcement that Craig Becker and Mark Pearce would be appointed to the Board marks the transition to an Obama majority on the NLRB. President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Positions. The fifth potential member, Republican Bryan Hayes’nomination is still pending in the Senate (the Becker and Pearce nominations remain as well.)
Also on the list of the 15 recess appointments are three members of the EEOC, Jaqueline A. Berrien as Chair, Chai R. Feldblum and Victoria A. Lipnic as members. P. David Lopez receives a recess appointment as General Counsel. Of those, Feldblum was the one who had drawn the most attention.
Because these recess appointments will expire when the Senate adjourns in December, 2011, it will be interesting to see how quickly they begin acting. Given the length of time the Board has been operating with only two members, and thus deciding only those cases where Democratic and Republican members could agree, there is a substantial backlog of cases to be decided. Additionally, there has been much talk about the possibility of rule making to accomplish at least some of the objectives of the legislatively stalled Employee Free Choice Act.
As a reminder of some of the changes that could be coming check out the monograph prepared by two of my colleagues, Hal and Chris Coxson, The National Labor Relations Board in the Obama Administration: What Changes to Expect.
If you had put off getting up to speed about what would happen with an Obama Board, time is up. For better or worse, it is here.