Congressman Robert Hurt today released the following statement after voting in favor of the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, legislation to prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from future rulemaking based on a recent court decision invalidating the NLRB's rulemaking authority with the members appointments being ruled unconstitutional:
"With the question now answered on the constitutionality of President Obama's unprecedented National Labor Relations Board recess appointment scheme, the House of Representatives is committed to preventing further damage to our small business owners and workers by this unelected and unaccountable board. At a time when many 5th District Virginians are out of work, the last thing we need is an NLRB that burdens our small business owners and compromises the rights of our nation's workers when the legitimacy of those rules has been invalidated. As we await the President's new appointees to be approved through a lawful appointment process, I believe this legislation will ensure that our 5th District workers and small business owners are not negatively impacted by additional NLRB rulemaking."
In January 2012, President Obama installed three so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board while Congress was not in recess. In the wake of the President's unprecedented action, efforts to overturn board rulings were initiated in various federal courts on the basis that the board itself was no longer legitimate. In a unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the president's recess appointments have been declared unconstitutional. In the wake of the decision, legal uncertainty surrounding the board has only increased. The Wall Street Journal reports dozens of employers, including Starbucks and CNN America, are seeking to void or block board rulings on the basis they are unconstitutional. Employees are beginning to do the same. The AFL-CIO stated the ruling has "seriously undermined enforcement of the law." As a result, workers, employers, and unions will be forced to spend more time and money in federal court and have less confidence about what the future holds.