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Doubts Over NLRB Recess Appointments Leave Businesses, Workers Hanging

Publication Date: 
March 13, 2013
Daily Journal
Laura Hautala

Professor William B. Gould spoke with the Daily Journal's Laura Hautala on a federal appeals court ruling which claims the NLRB has lacked power to act since early last year and why it's now up to the Obama administration to take "action" to get the decision reversed. 

Shortly after some of its workers voted to join the Teamsters union in 2010, West Sacramento-based trucking company KAG West LLC gave raises to its nonunion employees.

But now that decision, along with hundreds of others, is in doubt after a federal appeals court ruled the National Labor Relations Board has lacked the power to act since early last year. With its January ruling in Noel Canning v. NLRB, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has declared that the NLRB did not have the quorum needed to issue decisions because President Barack Obama inappropriately used recess appointments to name three of the board's members. The NLRB said Tuesday it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.


The Chamber's success in the Noel Canning case gives Graham and other Republican senators more leverage in future nomination fights, said William B. Gould IV, a former chairman of the NLRB and a professor emeritus at Stanford Law School. While Obama has renominated Block and Griffin to the board, Gould said the president won't have much success getting the Senate to approve them.

"The only way this immediate circumstance is going to get resolved is for the Obama administration to take action to get this decision reversed," he said.