OPINION

Either Congress Or The Courts Should Rein In Obama Labor Board

Just recently, the Solicitor General challenged in the United State Supreme Court a recent decision reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In its decision Noel Canning v. NLRB, the court found that President Obama’s so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on January 2012 were unconstitutional.

This is just another chapter in a growing saga for a federal agency that has been focused on rewarding Big Labor bosses at the expense of America’s workers and small businesses. The commotion has garnered the ire of the U.S. Congress. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation named the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120). The legislation decreases uncertainty among employers by preventing the Obama Labor Board from issuing decisions until the Supreme Court decides it has the authority to act or the U.S. Senate confirms new members constituting a legitimate quorum.

I’m hoping Congress acts and sends the president legislation addressing the NLRB, while the highest court in the land deliberates and hopefully finds the appointments made to the Board to be unconstitutional as the Senate was not in recess.

- Hector Barreto

And not to be outdone, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander along with numerous co-sponsors recently introduced in the Senate companion legislation to the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. In introducing the bill, Alexander stated, “The NLRB has just one member today – just one Senate-confirmed, constitutional member – so it has no quorum. Allowing these individuals to issue invalid decisions and regulations will only threaten the rights of American workers, the very people the board is intended to protect.”

I couldn’t agree more. The very existence of an illegitimate Board sends the wrong message to job creators considering whether to start or expand a business. The simple fact is entrepreneurs do not want unnecessary risk outside what they are already undertaking to form and run a business. But the government bureaucrats at the NLRB fail to understand this basic and common sense reality, and have instead doubled down on a strategy that is applauded by union bosses and opposed by virtually anyone and everyone else.

This is why legislation pursued by the Congress is so important. It sends the message to America’s employers that allies on Capitol Hill understand the Board is out-of-control and needs to be reined in. The President has already stated he will veto the bill, but legislators should force his hand and make him follow through on his word. It will only serve to remind Americans just how anti-business this administration really is.

With unemployment still high and less than projected economic growth, the White House is in no position to disregard –yet again– a co-equal branch of government. In fact, when the D.C. Circuit Court rendered its decision on the President’s so-called recess appointments, it didn’t take long for NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce to weigh in on behalf of the federal agency dissing the ruling writing, “[T]he board…will continue to perform our statutory duties and issue decisions.”

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The National Labor Relations Board’s effort to overturn the D.C. Circuit court ruling coupled with its complete disregard for the Congress is a reflection of the stances held by their boss, President Obama. As someone who has spent decades working with America’s small businesses, I’m hoping Congress acts and sends the president legislation addressing the NLRB, while the highest court in the land deliberates and hopefully finds the appointments made to the Board to be unconstitutional as the Senate was not in recess.

The Obama Labor Board poses a threat to employees and employers, and anyone hoping to reassure them, should want Board action halted until such time as the Senate can consider nominations to the NLRB and properly exercise its constitutional role of advising and consenting on federal appointments.

Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator. He has invited both presidential campaigns to send a representative to The Latino Coalition's West Coast Small Business Summit.

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