President Obama has nominated Republican Terence Flynn to serve as a board member of the National Labor Relations Board. If he is confirmed by the Senate, the labor panel will have its full complement of five members.
Obama also nominated Lafe Solomon, a Democrat and NLRB veteran, to serve as general counsel. Both will need Senate confirmation, which appears likely.
The NLRB has begun to work through the backlog of cases that built up over the 27-month period between January 2008 and April 2010, when there were only two members—Democrat and Chairwoman Wilma Liebman and Republican Peter Schaumber—sitting on the board. Schaumber’s term expired at the end of August. Clinton-appointee Liebman’s term expires in August 2011.
The two-member panel shied away from hot-button cases. Since three additional members joined the NLRB in the spring and early summer of 2010—Republican Brian Hayes, Democrat Mark Pearce and recess appointee Craig Becker, a Democrat—the panel has been willing to tackle cases that are more controversial, most notably a union “bannering” case in September.
In that case, the board upheld the right of union members to post stationary union banners on a secondary employer’s worksite.
Flynn currently is serving as chief counsel to Hayes and previously served as chief counsel to former board member Schaumber.
Solomon currently is serving as acting general counsel. He is a career attorney with the NLRB, having worked for the board in some capacity since 1972.
Denise Gold, the Associated General Contractors of America’s associate general counsel, says the Obama Administration’s decision to nominate a bipartisan package—with one Republican and one Democrat—is a welcome one.
“We’re hopeful that this will help encourage reasonable decisions from the board at best and valuable dissents at the very least,” Gold says.
She adds, “We can expect an Obama board to be very labor- friendly and perhaps harsh on employers, but having two Republicans there to issue valuable dissents could be useful in the future.”
|Chairwoman Wilma Liebman (D), term expires in August 2011|
|Member Mark Pearce (D), term expires in August 2013|
|Member Craig Becker (D), term expires at the end of 2011|
|Member Brian Hayes (R), term expires in December 2012|
|To be confirmed: As a board member, Terence Flynn (R), and Lafe Solomon (D) as general counsel|