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Judge Strikes Down Obama’s ‘Improper’ NLRB Recess Appointment (Read More…)

By Alissa Tabirian
August 23, 2013

A federal judge struck down one of President Obama’s highly controversial recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled in a case involving a Washington State firm charged with unfair labor practices that that “the Board is without power to act because it lacks a properly appointed quorum.”

On August 12, four new NRLB members appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate were sworn-in, but Settles’ August 13th decision invalidates all previous actions taken by Obama’s recess appointees.

In July, Obama was forced to withdrew his 2012 “recess” appointees, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, because they were named to the NLRB while the Senate was still in session and their appointments were subsequently ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

Obama named Lafe Solomon acting general counsel in 2010, then re-nominated him as the agency’s top lawyer in 2011 and 2013, although he was never confirmed by the Senate. (See NLRB press release.pdf)

But Settle ruled that Solomon’s appointment was invalid because the Federal Vacancies Reform Act requires that the appointee serve “as a personal assistant to the departing officer” within the year prior to the appointment, which Solomon did not do.

The ruling “recognizes what the NLRB has failed to acknowledge: that former acting general counsel Lafe Solomon’s authority was questionable and came at an extreme cost to America’s job creators, like Boeing and Wal-Mart,” Dan Epstein, executive director of government accountability organization Cause of Action, commented.

Bezos, No Fan of Unions, Gets 1,200 Union Workers at Washington Post (Read More…)

Curt Woodward 8/7/13

Since founding Amazon, Jeff Bezos has poured his growing wealth and business savvy into a dizzying array of interests, from cloud computing and consumer electronics to private spaceflight and even fusion power.

One role he hasn’t typically filled, however, is labor negotiator. But that will change when Bezos takes over The Washington Post.

In his surprise $250 million deal to buy the Post, Bezos is getting the duty to negotiate with six union locals representing nearly 1,200 workers, according to the Post’s latest annual report. Most of them are newsroom jobs, but the tally also includes mailroom workers, machinists, and a smattering of other blue-collar employees (I’ve included a breakdown of the various unions below).

Dealing with that many unionized workers is a big change from Bezos’ self-described “day job” as CEO of Amazon, where none of his 90,000 U.S. employees are represented by unions.

As The New York Times recently reported, Amazon—like many large employers—is generally opposed to organized labor, which the company believes would “slow down the kind of behind-the-scenes innovation that has propelled its growth.”

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