On January 4, President Obama announced three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The appointments avoid the loss by the NLRB of a quorum to act, resulting from the expiration of a prior recess appointment. Republicans objected to the appointments, accusing the President of skirting the Senate confirmation process, and by making appointments when they contend the Senate has not formally recessed. The appointments may result in a constitutional challenge to the President's ability to make recess appointments in such circumstances.
The three recess appointments include two Democrats and one Republican member. The two Democratic appointments include a former union attorney, and a Department of Labor deputy assistant secretary. The NLRB has been the focus of considerable recent controversy, due to its issuance of rules and decisions widely viewed as pro-labor. Given congressional deadlock on many labor issues, the NLRB's renewed quorum will provide the agency with the means to continue its current approach toward collective bargaining rights.