Policy: Labor

More than a thousand NLRB cases potentially voided by Supreme Court

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Supreme Court,Labor,NLRB,Recess Appointments

National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said Thursday the federal labor-law enforcement agency was still trying to determine the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling in Noel Canning v. NLRB.

Pearce issued a terse statement, which said in part: "We are analyzing the impact that the Court's decision has on Board cases in which the January 2012 recess appointees participated. ... The Agency is committed to resolving any cases affected by today's decision as expeditiously as possible."

The court ruled unanimously that the board lacked a proper quorum from January 2012 through January 2013, retroactively invalidating all of the board's actions during that period.

The NLRB had previously asserted that all of the disputed rulings were valid, despite the rulings in federal court that said the board did not have the authority to make them.

Potentially all those actions will now have to be re-litigated. The cases were ones decided by President Obama's appointees Sharon Block, Richard Griffin and Terence Flynn. The ruling leaves intact rules that were made by another disputed appointee, Craig Becker.

"Today’s ruling leaves Becker’s recess appointment as valid, and only invalidates Block, Griffin and Flynn. The number of decisions while they were on the Board is 1,058 (333 published and 725 unpublished)," said Pat Semmens, spokesman for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the case.

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