By Edwin S. Hopson
On December 15, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board announced that President Obama has stated his intent to nominate Sharon Block and Richard Griffin as members of the National Labor Relations Board. Currently there are two Members (at the five-member board), two Democrats (one of whom, Craig Becker, is a recess appointment that expires at the end of the year) and one Republican.
Block is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. During the period 2006 through 2009, Block was Senior Labor and Employment Counsel for the Senate HELP Committee, where she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to that, she had served at the National Labor Relations Board as senior attorney to Chairman Robert Battista(a Republican) from 2003 to 2006 and as an attorney in the NLRB’s Appellate Court Branch from 1996 to 2003. From 1994 to 1996, Block was Assistant General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from 1991 to 1993, she was an associate at the management law firm of Steptoe & Johnson. Block received a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.
Griffin is the General Counsel of the for International Union of Operating Engineers. He also serves on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, a position he has held since 1994. From 1981 to 1983, he served as a Counsel to NLRB Board Members. Griffin holds a B.A. from Yale Universityand earned a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
Based on the current environment in the Senate, it is doubtful that either of these nominations will be taken up soon.
It appears the Board will be reduced to two Members at the end of the year and cease issuing decisions until it can gain at least a third Member.