Labor Board Gives Power to Staff as Democrat’s Term Nears an End

The National Labor Relations Board delegated certain powers to the panel’s legal staff following a resignation threat by its only Republican member and the pending expiration of a Democrat’s term next month.

The board, which has two vacancies among five positions, gave the general counsel and chief administrative law judge the power to make budget and personnel decisions, anticipating “that in the near future it may, for a temporary period, have fewer than three members,” according to a notice today in the Federal Register.

The NLRB said on Nov. 23 that Republican Brian Hayes told its chairman he may quit as a way to block action on a proposal that business groups say is too pro-union. The appointment of Democrat Craig Becker, a former lawyer for the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union, will expire next month when Congress adjourns. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that a two-member labor board can’t issue rulings.

Hayes said he may resign to deny the NLRB the needed quorum to issue ruling before a vote scheduled Nov. 30 on rules to speed union elections, according to a Nov. 22 letter from the board’s chairman, Democrat Mark Pearce.

The labor board, which runs union elections and resolves disputes between unions and management, proposed in June streamlining the schedule for elections to have a vote within 21 days of a worker request to form a union.

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