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Senate Approves Withdrawn Board Member Griffin as NLRB General Counsel

Posted in: Legislative Updates

In a vote of 55-44, the Senate approved the nomination of Richard Griffin as General Counsel of the NLRB on Tuesday evening. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the lone dissenting Republican to join her Democrat colleagues in voting for Griffin’s nomination. His nomination was expected to pass easily with enough Republicans indicating they would vote for a motion to invoke cloture on the nomination, ending debate and allowing the Senate to move forward with a vote. Eight Republicans voted for cloture to bring the tally to 62, exceeding the necessary 60 vote majority.

Both IEC and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which IEC is a member, sent letters to the Senate strongly urging a “NO” vote on Griffin’s nomination.
 
Griffin was one of President Obama’s contentious “recess” appointees to the NLRB in January 2012, and served until his re-nomination was withdrawn as part of an agreement this past July between the Senate and the Administration over a Republican filibuster of several nominees. Despite a U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously holding in Noel Canning vs. NLRB that the President’s appointees were unconstitutional in January 2013, Griffin and the NLRB continued issuing orders and decisions until his withdrawal.
 
Griffin has left employers with great uncertainty regarding the validity of any NLRB actions taken while he served as an unconfirmed Board member. Depending on the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has since taken up the case of Noel Canning, IEC member companies stand to face costly litigation depending on whether or not the Court upholds the validity of NLRB decisions during Griffin’s tenure.
 
Click here to see the breakdown of the Senate’s vote on Griffin.