Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Today, the White House made several new nominations, including two new Democratic appointees to the NLRB, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. According to the announcement:
Sharon Block, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Sharon Block is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Between 2006 and 2009, Ms. Block was Senior Labor and Employment Counsel for the Senate HELP Committee, where she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Block previously served at the National Labor Relations Board as senior attorney to Chairman Robert Battista from 2003 to 2006 and as an attorney in the appellate court branch from 1996 to 2003. From 1994 to 1996, she was Assistant General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from 1991 to 1993, she was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson. She received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.
Richard Griffin, Nominee for Member, National Labor Relations Board
Richard Griffin is the General Counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). He also serves on the board of directors for the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, a position he has held since 1994. Since 1983, he has held a number of leadership positions with IUOE from Assistant House Counsel to Associate General Counsel. From 1985 to 1994, Mr. Griffin served as a member of the board of trustees of the IUOE’s central pension fund. From 1981 to 1983, he served as a Counsel to NLRB Board Members. Mr. Griffin holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
I don't know Richard Griffin, but I'm well acquainted with Sharon Block. I worked with her during my time at the NLRB's Appellate Court Branch (in fact, she was one of my first supervisors). If she's confirmed--obviously a really big if--she would do a great job. Just as one example, she managed to get wins for the NLRB in the Hoffman Plastics case before both a three-judge and en banc panel of the D.C. Circuit. Short-lived wins, but still impressive given the D.C. Circuit's usual stance on labor matters.
Here's hoping that these two nominees, as well as an additional Republican one, get confirmed sometime soon (if we're dreaming, we might as well go for a full Board). What is left unsaid at this point is whether the President intends to make them recess appointments, assuming that he has the opportunity. Stay tuned.
Hat TIp: Fred Jacob