At the end of July, the Senate voted to confirm all five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, renewing Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce’s term through 2018 and setting the stage for an expected pro-labor advance by filling the remaining seats with two Democrats and two Republicans. The President appointed two pro-labor partisans, Nancy Schiffer, an AFL-CIO associate general counsel and card check proponent, and Kent Hirozawa, an advancing union guard who was chief counsel to Obama holdover chairman Pearce. The President’s appointment of non-objectionable management lawyers Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson gives big labor and its anti-business minions a long-awaited upper hand, which they surely wish to wield, ironically, like the proverbial fist inside the velvet glove.
At the top of the agenda will be moving the regulations for “quickie” representation elections forward and implementing them. Because the President’s promise of “card check” legislation fell on its face in 2010, even with Democratic control of both houses, the Obama Board will push hard to rule by regulation, repromulgating the quickie election rules in a stricter and strengthened format. Reissuing these rules with a full Board will remove any question about the legality of their promulgation and would be a token tribute to organized labor which has been actually banking on card check legislation since 2008. And depending on the Democrats’ performance in 2014, card check legislation, with its binding first contract interest arbitration, could rear its ugly head.