Legal Newsline

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Obama's labor board appointments challenged again

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Apr 26, 2012


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Another legal challenge to the legality of President Barack Obama's disputed appointments to the National Labor Relations Board was filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRWF), a workers advocacy group, filed two appeals stemming from two cases. One is Richards, Yost, & Echegaray v. Steelworkers and the other is Lugo v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

According to a NRWF communique, both cases involve union officials compelling workers to annually renew their objections to paying full union dues. Such schemes, they say, are designed to force workers into full dues-paying union membership.

NRWF maintains this is a clear violation of federal law and the NLRB found that to be the case. But the NLRB -- with Obama's disputed appointments -- only applied its ruling to the workers involved in the cases and not retroactively to all workers who have objected in the past to paying full union dues to the respective unions.

NRWF attorneys appealed to have the NLRB rulings applied retroactively. They will also, once again, challenge the president's installation of three members to the NLRB as recess appointees in January, despite the fact that, they say, the U.S. Senate was not in recess.

Senate Republicans scheduled pro forma sessions with the intention of keeping the Senate out of recess.

The NRWF has argued that the appointments are unconstitutional and, therefore, the Board lacks the quorum necessary to hear any cases. When NWRF attorneys raised the issue in these two cases, the NLRB declared the appointments to be valid.

If Obama's NLRB appointments are unconstitutional, then it lacks a quorum to enact rules or enforce federal labor law under a U.S. Supreme Court precedent issued in 2010.

The issue is anticipated to eventually reach the Supreme Court.

Attorneys representing the NRWF were among the first to challenge the constitutionality of Obama's recess appointments in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with an earlier motion challenging the appointments in another case involving the NLRB's new posting notice rules. The motion was denied. The judge involved was appointed by Obama.

"Barack Obama's so-called recess appointments to the Labor Board clearly violate the U.S. Constitution," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation.

"Because the Board does not have a legitimate quorum, it must cease handing down lopsided rulings in Foundation cases until a legitimate quorum is established."

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. Supreme CourtInternational Brotherhood of Electrical Workers