Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

The other constitutional issue of the day

While other folks might be wrapped up in discussing other constitutional matters today, union members and employers alike should still be concerned about President Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

In January, while the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions in order to keep the Congress out of recess, Obama appointed three new members to the NLRB without getting the consent of the Senate, as is required by the Constitution.

As legal experts have explained, including former Attorney General Ed Meese, there must be a formal resolution for the Senate to actually recess.

Attorney Andrew Grossman noted that even President Obama considered this to be an active session of Congress, because he signed the payroll tax cut extension into law—a bill approved while the pro forma session was in place.

Nontheless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has threatened to allow more appointments to go through this same unconstitutional process.

But if you’ve grown weary of hearing legal jargon, there’s always just the plain old practical reasons why skipping the Senate confirmation process is a bad idea. As Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) says in today’s Washington Examiner, the illegal appointees really should have been properly vetted.

One illegal appointee, Richard Griffin, was an attorney for the International Union of Operating Engineers—a union with dozens of members that have faced criminal charges that include labor racketeering, extortion and bodily harm.

As reported by the Heritage Foundation’s investigative reporter Lachlan Markay, Griffin will also continue to receive a pension from the IUOE while he sits on the NLRB, and may very well hear cases brought by his former employer.

More important than the individual members, however, is the harm that these appointments will inflict on workers and on the American economy. Wszolek writes:

The NLRB is supposed to be independent, but it has become anything but that under President Obama.  The White House has used the NLRB to reward its largest political contributor making little effort to disguise this as anything outside “payback” to Big Labor.

Though union leaders and politicians might not care, the illegal NLRB appointments have harmed the Constitution and are already negatively affecting our already-faltering economy.

Categories: Center for Union FactsCrime & CorruptionNLRB