It has been no secret that President Obama has enjoyed great support from organized labor and that he in turn supports efforts to make it easier for unions to organize workers. Recent appointments by Obama to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board are likely to usher in significant changes in the process for creating such workplace groups.
The President, with much fanfare Wednesday, made a “recess” appointment for the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (I put the term “recess” in quotes, because there appears to be some controversy about whether or not the Senate, which normally must approve of such appointments, was actually in recess). With much less fanfare, though, Obama appointed three new members to the five-seat NLRB. The Board had two vacancies already, and a third vacancy was created when one member’s term expired at the end of 2011. With only two members on the 5-member board, no action could be taken.
Republicans in Congress seemed content that this Board could not act, but the appointment of three new members makes it not only possible that the Board will be able to act but also likely that it now will have enough votes to enact new union election rules that have been proposed, to union elections faster and easier for unions.
I will continue to monitor the status of those rules, which I will explain in more detail in a future post. Stay tuned, folks!