Obama to Appoint Three to NLRB

Score another point for functional governing today. After announcing his appointment of Richard Cordray today, President Obama will also use recess appointments to name 3 new members to the National Labor Relations Board.

These appointments come in the face of obstruction that would have left the NLRB without enough members to make rulings—and unable to actually enforce labor law. Without an NLRB, decades of labor law are completely toothless, and unfair labor practices—like firing workers for trying to form a union—would go unpunished.

Having a functioning body, able to enforce laws protecting workers, isn’t just about workers in unions. It matters to all workers. The right to bargain, and the NLRB that protects it, have been frequent targets of congressional Republicans. Through the use of the filibuster, the minority of Republicans in the Senate—without passing any new laws—could essentially have demolished labor law and made collective bargaining in this country nearly impossible.

We need to be doing more to support working people and their rights, and to balance the power of corporations. But it starts with actually enforcing the laws on the books now. Senate Republicans tried to cripple these laws. It’s to President Obama’s credit that he’s pushing back here.