USW Hails Obama's Recess Appointments as Bold Action Vital to Helping Working Americans

Jan 04, 2012, 17:02 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

President Uses Constitutional Powers to Restore Labor Board; Advance Consumer Protection

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) commends President Barack Obama for using his Constitutional power to override obstructionist Republicans and appoint four officials to key positions within the administration to protect consumers against financial fraud and to protect workers against illegal corporate practices. 

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"Republicans left the President with no choice but to recess appoint these four people, three to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and one to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "President Obama showed today that he will use every means at his disposal to circumvent Republican opposition to safeguarding workers and consumers."

The president appointed two Democrats, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, and a Republican, Terence F. Flynn, to serve on the NLRB. Resignations from the board and refusal of Republicans in the Senate to approve nominees would have rendered the NLRB inoperable.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it must have a quorum – three members – to render legal decisions.

"With these recess appointments, the President has enabled this crucial board to continue functioning," Gerard said. "Republicans are screaming about Obama doing exactly what the past three GOP Presidents – both Bushes and Ronald Reagan – did. In fact, George W. Bush made seven recess appointments to the NLRB.

"There is no question that each of the appointees is highly qualified – and should have garnered Senate approval – something that could have occurred if the Republican minority did not use the filibuster to block every appointment."

Block is the deputy assistant secretary for Congressional Affairs at the Department of Labor. Griffin is general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers.  And Flynn serves as chief counsel to NLRB board member Brian Hayes, who is one of two members left on the five-member board after resignations. Mark G. Pearce is the chairman.

President Obama appointed Richard Cordray to direct the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray now is chief of enforcement at the Bureau and served before that as Ohio Attorney General. This is a crucial job because some functions of the bureau cannot be performed without a director.

"President Obama has shown he is willing to use normal legal procedures to ensure the proper functioning of the U.S. government in the service of the American people," Gerard said. "The Steelworkers are proud that the president has confronted the Party of No." 

"We are grateful for President Obama's bold actions. And it is not without longstanding precedent. He is following in the footsteps of President Theodore Roosevelt, who made over 160 appointments during a brief recess after the first session of the 58th Congress, and President Harry S. Truman, who twice made appointments during short recesses."

CONTACT:   Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444
Gary Hubbard (202) 256-8125




SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)