Union Rights. A pro-labor stance by the National Labor Relations Board is certain as soon as Congress confirms President Obama's appointees, giving Democrats a majority. Look for reversals of key decisions made by Bush appointees on the use of e-mail by workers for union organizing and representation of nonunion workers at disciplinary meetings. The new board also is likely to narrow the definition of a supervisor, which will make more workers eligible to join a union.
Business groups have called on the Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee to hold confirmation hearings on the NLRB nominees, the Democrats Craig Becker and Mark Pearce and the Republican, Brian Hayes. There's a particular concern about Becker as a former SEIU counsel, given the union's already mighty influence: Former union official Patrick Gaspard serves as White House political director and SEIU President Andy Stern is a frequent White House visitor. (Stern is so influential he even ranks 36th in GQ's list of the 50 most powerful people in Washington. )
Despite the calls for hearings, the whisper mill reports that the nominations may go straight to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. You would think that an Obama Administration, intent on transparency, would insist that its nominees receive the public scrutiny that comes with confirmation hearings.