The Absurdity Behind President Obama’s Non-Recess Appointments

Fred Wszolek
January 18, 2012

In reading some of the news coverage and commentary concerning President Obama’s non-recess appointments of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) you would think they had waited months and even years under so-called “obstructionism” in the U.S. Senate. In reality, anyone who undertook an objective analysis of the situation would have come to the conclusion that the administration’s complete disregard for the Constitution by ignoring the Senate’s advice and consent responsibility was a total handout to the Big Labor bosses bankrolling the president’s campaign.

Let’s be clear, there isn’t much room for any other interpretation. Union bosses invested half a billion dollars in 2008 to elect President Obama and he has bent over backwards to pay them back. In the process, he has sent the message to workers and small businesses that the current leadership in the nation’s capital is an adversary, not an ally.

An example of the flawed and absolutely ridiculous commentary associated with the non-recess appointments was an editorial published in The Washington Posttitled, “Obama’s Justifiable ‘Power Grab’ on Recess Appointments.” The editorial writers at the Post claim it is “inexcusable that congressional obstructionism would leave [agencies of the U.S. government] unable to function.” This line alone demonstrates a disturbing level detachment from the facts and a total misunderstanding of reality.

The simple truth that eluded the Post was just a Google search away. Had editors done their research they would have found Richard Griffin and Sharon Block were nominated to the NLRB on December 15th, hours before Senators left the nation’s capital even though the Congress continued to convene in pro forma sessions. These nominees received non-recess appointments a few weeks later. There was no obstructionism. None. And any claim that there was is deeply misinformed or absolutely dishonest.

In fact, it wasn’t even possible for obstruction to take place as the Senate never received the obligatory paperwork for Griffin or Block, and their background questionnaires went uncompleted. Therefore, we know much less than we should about these individuals who will decide the fate of key labor issues confronting employers and unions in the private sector.

Where was the outrage when the Republican nominees to the NLRB waited extended periods of time to receive votes in the Democratic-run Senate? Both Terence Flynn and Brian Hayes waited nearly a year to obtain a post on the regulatory agency, yet opponents of “obstructionism” were largely silent. When Griffin and Block sat through the holidays, Congressional obstructionism was “inexcusable.”

The Obama Administration’s defense of the indefensible non-recess appointments is borderline comical. The White House had its Office of Legal Counsel within the Department of Justice release an opinion which was officially dated after the non-recess appointments had been made and directly contradicts an opinion issued by the same Office of Legal Counsel in President Clinton’s Justice Department.

The opinion at least had the candor to say “[t]he question is a novel one, and the substantial arguments on each side create some litigation risk for such appointments.”

Litigation risk? That would be accurate considering the non-recess appointments were disputed by none other than Obama’s own solicitor general office before the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is a gross abuse of power by President Obama and just as disturbing, media bought the fictitious arguments and failed to do their homework.

Obama used Richard Cordray’s recess appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a front for his effort to reward campaign donors he needs to compete this fall. He wrapped a giveaway to labor bosses in a blanket of consumer protection and that was obvious to anyone who wanted to see. And in the process, the president of the United States completely mortgaged any credibility on the economy and exposed himself as nothing more than a pawn of the same special interests he derided three years ago.

What may be one of the most “inexcusable” elements of the non-recess appointments of Richard Griffin and Sharon Block to the NLRB is the highly questionable reporting and opining in media outlets that has cheated readers of a complete and accurate accounting of a very serious matter that upends our nation’s system of checks and balances. They deserved better.

Fred Wszolek is a spokesperson with the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

Tell Congress: Stop the PRO Act

WFI is working to prevent passage of the so-called Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act)—a wholesale labor reform package that takes the current careful balance of labor rules and tips it greatly in the favor of labor bosses and forced collective bargaining.

The PRO Act robs workers of the right to a secret ballot to form a union, forces union contracts on workers without a vote of approval, and expose workers’ personal contact information to union bosses seeking to organize a workplace. And that’s just the start.

Help us speak out against this woefully misguided and blatantly anti-worker legislation. Review and send the message below to your members of Congress today.

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WFI Key Vote Letter: Opposition to PRO Act

— 02.10.2020 —
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy: On behalf of the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), I am writing to share our organization’s vehement opposition to H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). WFI has serious concerns with the broad, overreaching nature of this legislation and the many ways in which it would undermine worker freedom and privacy, while simultaneously threatening businesses and entire industries that keep America’s economy thriving. Please note that WFI will include votes on the PRO Act and its amendments on our Congressional Labor Scorecard, which scores and ranks legislators based on their activity associated with workplace issues. WFI was established to fight for American employees and employers as well as our entire economy. We believe in worker empowerment, the right of workers to be fully informed of the options available for worker-involvement in the workplace, and the right to freely choose whether to organize or not. No individual or group – government, a union or an employer – should be able to intimidate or restrict workers’ in exercising these rights. In an attempt to boost flailing union membership at the expense of workers’ rights, the PRO Act would upend decades of established U.S. labor law and institute myriad anti-employee and anti-employer policies that have already been soundly rejected—by Congress, various federal agencies, or the courts. Among its most blatant affronts to workers’ rights, the PRO Act would eliminate the right to a secret ballot when determining whether to unionize and enforce a “card check” system, exposing workers to the potential for harassment, intimidation, and coercion. The PRO Act would also enforce binding arbitration in union negotiations by a government- appointed bureaucrat; repeal and eliminate right-to-work laws in 27 states, force workers to fund union activities regardless of whether they support them; and threaten the ability of individuals to operate as independent contractors, eliminating traditional economic and employment opportunities and threatening the independence and flexibility of the emerging gig economy. On top of all that, the PRO Act would force all workers’ personal and home contact information to be provided to a union during organizing campaigns – in an electronic, searchable format no less, with no limit on what a union can do with that information. WFI believes in advancing sensible policies that protect and preserve the rights of both employees and employers, and we welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who also support these efforts. However, the PRO Act does not achieve these goals and would instead threaten the rights of both while jeopardizing our entire economy. WFI urges members of the House to strongly oppose the PRO Act. Sincerely, Heather Greenaway Executive Director Workforce Fairness Institute See the letter here.
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