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Committee Announces Hearing to Examine Unprecedented NLRB Recess Appointments

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today announced a hearing to examine President Obama’s so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The hearing, entitled “The NLRB Recess Appointments: Implications for America’s Workers and Employers,” will be held Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building.

“In his State of the Union address, the president pledged to do everything he can to help businesses succeed,” said Chairman Kline. “Yet he has stood by while an activist NLRB wreaks havoc on the rights of workers and employers. In fact, the controversial recess appointments to the board are the president’s stamp of approval on the board’s job destroying agenda, and every future action by the board will be tainted by the questions surrounding their legal authority. The committee has a responsibility to closely examine the consequences of the president’s action.”

On January 4, 2012, President Obama announced three recess appointments to the NLRB. This action has generated a great deal of controversy because the Senate was not in recess, but in pro forma session, which raises concerns about the legality of the appointments and the board’s future decisions. As former Democrat board member Dennis Devaney noted in the Washington Times, “… Anything they do is going to be subject to being undone, because they didn’t have the authority to act.”

In addition to questions about the legality of the appointments, there are also concerns about the agenda of the current NLRB. In recent years, the board has taken a number of actions that undermine the rights of workers and employers, including restricting access to secret ballot union elections and advancing election reforms that undermine employer free speech and worker free choice.

“President Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB were clearly an abuse of power,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. “The president has a responsibility to be accountable to the American people, but instead he is conducting backdoor deals. The nominees should undergo careful scrutiny, requiring a public hearing in the Senate and a vote. This is very concerning because the NLRB under President Obama has been a significant roadblock to job creation, further proving they need more oversight by this committee.”

The February 7 hearing will provide an opportunity to examine the ongoing issues before the board, as well as the affect additional pro-union decisions could have on the competitiveness of the American workforce. Hearing witnesses will be announced at a later date.


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