One of the developments I suggested labor professionals keep an eye on after the election was the validity of President Obama’s appointments to the NLRB at the beginning of 2012. As summarized in the prior post, two of the four current NLRB members received "recess appointments" that are now at issue. Today, the federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. heard oral arguments in a case that challenges the validity of these appointments. The case is Noel Canning v. NLRB.
For those interested in additional detail about the case, this article from NPR and this article from Reuters contain good summaries of the arguments from the parties and some additional background information. The Reuters article includes reporting on the questions asked during oral argument, and the views of the various "friends of the court" who filed briefs supporting the parties’ positions. These parties included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Senate Republicans.
For the labor professional, this development underscores a sense of uncertainty surrounding the President’s appointments. If the appointments are invalid, all of the decisions the NLRB has issued since the appointees joined the NLRB would be invalid. More significantly, the NLRB would not be able to act going forward unless and until the Senate could agree upon new members to an agency that increasingly occupies the headlines. That has proved difficult to accomplish, as evidenced by the recess appointments themselves.