Worker advocate argues Labor Board does not have legitimate quorum to hear pending cases because Congress was not in actual recess
Chicago, Illinois (July 30, 2012) – Four workers filed a brief today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago challenging President Barack Obama's recent purported recess appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
David Yost and Ronald Echegaray of Morgantown, West Virginia, Doug Richards of Ligonier, Indiana, and John Lugo of Chicago, Illinois filed the brief with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
The workers' two cases, Richards, Yost, & Echegaray v. Steelworkers and Lugo v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, were consolidated for hearing before the appeals court. The NLRB found in both cases that union bosses illegally forced workers who exercise their right to refrain from formal union membership to "annually renew" their objections to paying full union dues.
But in both cases, the NLRB – filled with President Barack Obama's legally-suspect appointments – only applied their ruling prospectively to the workers involved in the cases and not retroactively to all workers who have objected in the past to paying full union dues to the respective unions.
Foundation staff attorneys appealed the Board's decisions to apply its remedy only prospectively, and also challenged Obama's unprecedented move to install three members on the NLRB as "recess appointees" in January despite the fact that the U.S. Senate was not then in recess.
Foundation staff attorneys argue that the appointments are unconstitutional and, therefore, the Board lacks the quorum necessary to hear any cases. If Obama's NLRB appointments are unconstitutional, then the Board has only two valid members and lacks a quorum to enact rules or enforce federal labor law under a U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in 2010.
The worker's cases are among the first in the nation to reach the appellate courts with this issue, and will help set the standard for all further challenges.
"Barack Obama's so-called recess appointments to the Labor Board clearly violate the U.S. Constitution," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Because the Board does not have a legitimate quorum, it must cease handing down rulings in Foundation-supported cases until a legitimate quorum is established."