By Edwin S. Hopson
On July 14, 2014, the White House announced that President Obama was sending to the Senate the nomination of Democrat Sharon Block, currently working as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2019, replacing Democrat Nancy Jean Schiffer whose term expires in mid-December, 2014.
Block was previously recess-appointed to the NLRB by the President in January 2012. Block and two other recess appointees (including Richard Griffin) were found to have been invalidly appointed in the Noel Canning v. NLRB case by the Supreme Court last month.
In mid 2013, the President nominated new members to the NLRB who were confirmed, and Block and Griffin resigned from the Board. Griffin was later nominated and confirmed as General Counsel of the Board.
This action may forestall a deadlock on the Board should the Republicans win control of the Senate in November 2014, since, if Schiffer is not replaced, that would leave a 2 – 2 split at the Board of Republicans and Democrats. Without a majority, the Democrats would be unable to decide important issues in cases or issue new regulations impacting labor-managment relations based on a pro-union agenda.