NLRB Faces Shutdown After Member's Term Expires

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LORI ROTHMAN, GUEST HOST: Union members are hoping for a post- Christmas miracle, one that would save the National Labor Relations Board.

Come New Year’s Day, the controversial labor board will likely shut down. Here is why. The NLRB is down to just three members. At the end of the year, that number falls to two, when Craig Becker’s term expires. The board cannot function with just two members. So unions are hoping President Obama will make a recess appointment.

My next guest though is hoping he doesn’t, Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey.

Congressman, happy holidays. Great to have you with us this afternoon.

REP. PHIL GINGREY, R-GA.: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

ROTHMAN: So it is an election year. We know the president -- labor movement is very supportive of the president, and he likely doesn’t want to disappointment them, so it’s very likely we could get a recess appointment here to the NLRB. What do you think about that?

GINGREY: It will be a little tricky for him to do that, because Congress is not officially in recess. There is no joint resolution of recessment.

So every three days, there has to be a pro forma session, a couple of people, at least, to convene in Washington. And I guess he could squeeze that in, but I think it is a bad idea. I think recess appointments, for the most part, are done to bypass the Senate, the advice and consent that is required under the Constitution.

And then you get people like Donald Berwick and they spend a whole year as a director of Medicaid, CMS, Medicare and Medicaid, and it wasted time. It’s on their bucket list, maybe, but for the country it is wasted time. So, I hope the president doesn’t do that, quite honestly.

ROTHMAN: OK, politics aside, do you want to see the NLRB shut down?

GINGREY: Well, I want to see the NLRB shut down if they continue activity like they tried to pull out there in the state of Washington in regard to Boeing aircraft.

ROTHMAN: Boeing.

GINGREY: Boeing wanted to locate a plant in South Carolina, a right- to-work state, and they were not cutting any jobs in Washington, in Washington State.

And all of a sudden NLRB told Boeing, you can’t do that, you can’t open a plant in South Carolina, where it’s a right-to-work state, labor cost in cheaper, the company is more profitable, they can build a lot more planes.

And, finally, NLRB and the unions dropped their complaint when Boeing had to agree to extend their contract out in Washington to the year 2016, and also had to agree that it would be union activity, united -- union manufacturers -- machinists, actually, is what it is, and they would build the 737 Max airplane out on the West Coast.


GINGREY: So, the NLRB and the way they are acting, I say, yes, we would be better if they could not do anything for the next year because they are killing jobs. And we are desperate for those jobs.

ROTHMAN: The NLRB has a very full docket, though. Look at this list, pending complaints about social media, collective bargaining rights, mandatory arbitration agreements all still unresolved.

So what is the alternative to addressing these issues if you don’t have an NLRB?

GINGREY: Well, you’re right. There are 200, as I understand it, issues that need to be resolved.

But they need to be resolved in a nonpolitical, nonpartisan way. And if the president is saying, that, OK, he is going to replace this current Democrat that is on the board that gives them three, and his term expires at the end of the year, he is going to replace him with this guy Griffin, who is a general counsel for a labor union and sits on the board of the AFL-CIO, how do you think these 200 cases are going to be dissolved and reconciled? In favor of the union.

So from my perspective, if we want to play political gamesmanship, I say we are better off it they only have two members, and the Supreme Court has said they can’t adjudicate anything with less than a quorum. But I think that would be better than giving a sop to the labor union on all 200 of these cases.

ROTHMAN: All right, Congressman thanks so much for sharing your outlook and your views.

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