By Edwin S. Hopson
At the annual AFL-CIO conference in Florida, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hinted that President Obama may recess appoint Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to a March 3, 2010, Associated Press report. Last month, Senate Democrats were unable to muster the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster on Becker’s nomination for a 5 year term as a Member of the NLRB. Indeed, two Democratic Senators even joined with Republicans to vote down the cloture motion. Furthermore, the President did not recess appoint Becker when he had the opportunity, which angered many union leaders and led AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to call for a “phone the Whitehouse” campaign to protest the President’s inaction on Becker.
At the same meeting, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Vice President Joe Biden told labor leaders, “in terms of the NLRB, we’re going to get it done.” Biden also reportedly said the same thing about proposed “Employee Free Choice Act” legislation that is stalled in the Senate.
The next opportunity for the President to make a recess appointment will be the Easter recess at the end of March. Any such recess appointment would expire at the end of this Congress in January, 2011.