WASHINGTON (June 22, 2010)—In a victory for organizations seeking union-friendly decisions from the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the current two-member NLRB has not had a legal quorum to render decisions for several years.
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision on June 17 could affect as many as 500 cases, according to an Associated Press report.
The five-member federal board, which mediates disputes between labor and management, has operated with only two members for more than three years because Congress refused to confirm replacements nominated by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The two-member board continued to issue opinions during that time without a majority.
Jim Trivisonno, president of management-labor advisers IRI Consultants, said the law will give the Obama-era NLRB a large pool of cases in which to overturn decisions from the Bush era.
“It's a huge win for those in labor relations with a liberal agenda, unions in particular,” Trivisonno said.
G. Roger King, a labor-management attorney with Jones Day, downplayed the impact of the ruling. He said the two-member board refrained from issuing decisions in highly significant cases. He said a previous decision could be overturned only if one of the parties raised the quorum argument during appeal.