At first, pro-forced unionism President Barack Obama and his handpicked National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) chairman, Mark Pearce, sought basically to ignore a ruling this January 25 by a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that three putative “recess” NLRB appointments made by the President in January 2012 were unconstitutional and invalid.
However, thanks largely to the vigilance of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, the President and Pearce have since found they can’t get away with pretending the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Noel Canning v. NLRB doesn’t exist.
And that’s why this Thursday the U.S. Senate’s HELP Committee will hold a hearing in which presidential selections for all five positions on the NLRB will be reviewed. These include a nomination of Pearce for a second term, nominations of two phony “recess” appointees (Richard Griffin and Sharon Block) whom the D.C. Circuit has found not to be licit members of the board, and two fresh nominations of labor lawyers Harry Johnson and Philip Miscimarra.
The fact that the Senate is finally getting an opportunity to exercise its constitutional advise-and-consent authority with regard to Griffin and Block, who are both ex-union lawyers and radical apologists for monopolistic unionism, is a positive development. But the real test is what HELP Committee members and the entire Senate will do now that they are at last able to exercise their constitutional prerogatives. Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute has some good ideas about questions HELP panelists should ask. I will quote a couple here (but all are worthy of consideration, and can be seen at the link below):
With regard to Griffin, being he has never actually been vetted, it seems reasonable to query why he is suited for a taxpayer-funded job serving in a role akin to a judge refereeing disputes between labor and businesses in the private sector considering as general counsel of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), he was the chief legal representative for a union whose locals were overrun by organized crime.
According to Fox News, “[t]he rap sheet for members of the International Union of Operating Engineers reads like something out of Goodfellas. Embezzlement. Wire fraud. Bribery. That’s just scratching the surface of crimes committed by the IUOE ranks.”
“Public documents…show that more than 60 IUOE members have been arrested, indicted or jailed in the last decade on charges that include labor racketeering, extortion, criminal enterprise, bodily harm and workplace sabotage.”
“In some of the more egregious examples, federal prosecutors alleged in February 2003 that the Genovese and Colombo crime families wrested control of two IUOE locals, and stole $3.6 million from major New York area construction projects – including the Museum of Modern Art and minor league baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets in Staten and Coney Islands.”
Next, Griffin should explain how – as a defendant in a racketeering and embezzlement case specifically dealing with a cover up – he should serve on a federal agency.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Griffin is named in a federal complaint filed in October by 10 members of IUOE Local 501, out of Los Angeles, which describes a ‘scheme to defraud [the local] out of revenue, cost savings and membership,’ by means of kickbacks, bribery, violent threats and extortion. The suit names dozens of IUOE officials as defendants, and Mr. Griffin is highlighted in a section describing an embezzlement and its subsequent hush-up.”
The Washington Free Beacon reports, “According to the lawsuit filed by 10 members of Los Angeles-based IUOE Local 501, which represents workers in Southern California and Southern Nevada, Griffin participated in a conspiracy to manipulate the operation of Local 501 ‘through a pattern of racketeering activity.’ Griffin was served with the complaint and a court summons relating to the lawsuit at his Washington, D.C., home on Dec. 4, according to documents filed in court.”