News Releases

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Isakson Co-Sponsors Bill to Stop Labor Board from Issuing Decisions with 'Quorum of One'

National Labor Relations Board Is Down to Just One Constitutional Member After Federal Court Declared Two Obama Recess Appointments Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee, has co-sponsored legislation to halt the stream of decisions and regulations being issued by a federal labor board that can’t muster a quorum because it has only one constitutional board member.

In the wake of a federal appeals court ruling in January 2013 that Obama’s two recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 2012 are unconstitutional, Isakson joined 12 senators in co-sponsoring the ­­­Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. The legislation would stop the NLRB from taking any action that requires a quorum until one of three things happens: 1. The Senate has confirmed enough nominees to the board to constitute a quorum; or 2. The Supreme Court has issued a decision on the constitutionality of Obama’s January 2012 appointments to the board; or 3. The first session of the 113th Congress is adjourned.

The NLRB is supposed to have a total of five members, and all must be confirmed by the Senate. The board needs at least three members confirmed by the Senate to make a quorum. Today, the NLRB is operating with just one member who has been confirmed  by the Senate. Two other members are continuing to sit on the board even though the federal court ruled in January 2013 that their appointments are unconstitutional. Two other seats on the board are vacant.

The board has ignored the court ruling and has continued to operate as usual even though it lacks the three constitutional members to have a quorum. Since the January 2013 court ruling, the board has issued 44 published decisions and 113 unpublished decisions and orders, including decisions overruling well-established precedent and replacing it with new policy favored by labor unions.

“It is unconscionable that the National Labor Relations Board is continuing to issue decisions and regulations with an invalid quorum of one. A federal board such as this cannot operate with only one constitutional board member,” said Isakson. “I am proud to join Sen. Alexander in co-sponsoring this legislation to stop this and to ensure that critically important labor decisions that affect American workers across the country are made through a fair and legal process.”  

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and has garnered the support of 11 Republican co-sponsors, including Isakson, whose subcommittee has jurisdiction over labor issues. Alexander’s proposal is a companion bill to H.R.1120, which was introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and passed the House on April 12.

In addition to Isakson and Alexander, the bill’s co-sponsors, include Sens. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and James Risch, R-Idaho.

In February, Isakson joined other senators in calling on the two unconstitutional board members to “leave the board.” In March, Isakson joined with several senators in cosponsoring a budget amendment to defund decisions and regulations made by the unconstitutional NLRB since the January 2013 court ruling.