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White House announces recess appointments of two attorneys to fill NLRB vacancies

According to a statement released on March 27, 2010, President Obama announced his intent to recess appoint 15 nominees to administration posts that have been vacant for months, including Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce as members of the National Labor Relations Board.

"The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” said President Barack Obama. "Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”

Following their appointment, these nominees will remain in the Senate for confirmation.

Press Release from the National Labor Relations Board

NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman, who has served on the Board for 12 years, welcomed the new members saying, "I look forward to beginning work with them, and especially to addressing cases that have been pending for a long time.” Three of the Board’s five seats have been vacant since January 2008. The two remaining members – Chairman Liebman and Member Peter Schaumber – have issued decisions in nearly 600 cases in which they have been able to agree. Last week, the Supreme Court heard argument in a case challenging the Board’s authority to have issued decisions with two members.

Becker has served as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1978 and received his J.D. in 1981 from Yale Law School where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law. He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law between 1989 and 1994 and has also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools. He has published numerous articles on labor and employment law in scholarly journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law Review, and has argued labor and employment cases in virtually every federal court of appeals and before the United States Supreme Court.

Pearce was a founding partner of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux, where he practiced union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies. In 2008, he was appointed to the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the NY Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law. Pearce has taught at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension, and is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Prior to 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP. From 1979 to 1994, he was an attorney and District Trial Specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY. Pearce received his J.D. from State University of New York, and his B.A. from Cornell University.

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers and unions.


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