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Policy: Labor

Teamster local challenges Obama on NLRB recess appointments

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Sean Higgins,Labor,NLRB,Teamsters,Recess Appointments,Presidential Appointees

The Daily Caller has a good scoop/man-bites dog story out this weekend: A Teamsters local has challenged the legality of President Obama’s recess appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.

The five-member board currently only three appointees – barely enough for a quorum. Two of those were placed by the White House using “recess appointments.” Such appointments are only supposed to be used as an emergency measure when Congress is out of session, but Obama has used them to circumvent Congressional approval entirely.

Senate Republicans has questioned the authority of the current NLRB as a consequence. Now, some Teamsters are on the same side:

“The union disputes that the board is properly and sufficiently constituted, as ‘recess’ appointments (to NLRB) were made when there was no recess,” according to a Dec. 12, 2012 affidavit signed by Teamsters Local 523 President Gary Ketchum.

“As far as I know, that was something that was decided to be accurate,” Ketchum told TheDC, referring to the improper recess appointments.

What’s going on here? Well, this bunch of Teamsters doesn’t like a particular ruling and is trying a novel challenge since it questions the complete authority of an otherwise pro-union agency:

Teamsters Local 523 is disputing a 2011 decision by a three-member NLRB panel that it violated the National Labor Relations Act by, in 2005, agreeing to place Oklahoma delivery driver Kirk Rammage at the bottom of his company’s seniority list because Rammage did not belong to the union.

Teamsters Local 523 claims that the three-member NLRB panel was not properly constituted and thus may not act. The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

One problem with the challenge is that it involves a decision from last year. The board’s membership has changed since then.

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