On Friday, January 13, 2012, a number of business groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business, National Right to Work Foundation, Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, lodged the first legal challenge seeking to block President Barack Obama’s January 4, 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).
Procedurally, the groups bootstrapped their challenge to a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the NLRB’s highly controversial “Notice Posting Rule” that would require businesses to post notices and inform employees right to bargain collectively, distribute union literature, and engage in other union activities without reprisal under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), which is set become effective April 30, 2012.
As we more fully discussed here on January 6th, the NRLB lost its quorum when former Member Craig Becker’s term expired on January 3, 2012. President Obama then appointed Terence Flynn, Sharon Block, and Richard Griffith to the NLRB. The business groups argue in their motion and accompanying legal memorandum that these appointments are “unconstitutional, null and void,” because they were done while the Senate was in session, leaving no “recess” during which time President Obama could make appointments “without seeking or obtaining the advice and consent of the Senate.” As a result, the NLRB, with only two members, lacks the necessary quorum and ultimately “authority to implement or enforce” the Notice Posting Rule pursuant to New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB, 130 S.Ct. 2635 (2010).