Along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau news yesterday, President Obama made three additional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)--Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin and Republican Terry Flynn.
The recess appointments come after the NLRB was rendered inoperable due to the expiration of Craig Becker's term on January 3. "Without the appointments, the federal agency, which mediate labor disputes and oversees union elections, wouldn't have had a quorum to issue valid rulings," wrote Mike Elk for "In These Times."
The speed in making the appointments may be a move by the White House to gain the support of the AFL-CIO, which has yet to endorse Obama, unlike other major unions like AFSCME, NEA, UFCW and SEIU. It's unclear as well if the AFL-CIO's delay in endorsing Obama, or AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's recent call for greater political independence for organized labor played any role in pressuring the White House to quickly make the recess appointments to both the CFPB and NLRB.
Trumka, who's organization the AFL-CIO has 12.2 million workers affiliated with the union, praised Obama's appointments yesterday.
We commend the President for exercising his constitutional authority to ensure that crucially important agencies protecting workers and consumers are not shut down by Republican obstructionism. Working families and consumers should not pay the price for political ploys that have repeatedly undercut the enforcement of rules against Wall Street abuses and the rights of working people.
Elk believes Obama's appointments may give the AFL-CIO necessary cover to endorse President Obama "and offer active support on the ground during the election season."