Obama announces two 'pro-labor' nominees to the NLRB

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President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

The Obama administration announced two nominations Thursday to fill vacancies in the National Labor Relations Board.

The board normally has five members; it has been operating with three. The President's nominees are Sharon Block, 46, and Richard Griffin, 55.

Block is the Labor Department's deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs. She previously served as senior attorney to former NLRB Chairman Robert Battista.

Griffin is the general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers, and served on the board of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee at the AFL-CIO since 1994. Both are viewed as being pro-labor, Bloomberg News reported.

The nominees are likely to draw criticism from long-term care groups who have been troubled by recent pro-union NLRB rulings and a focus on increasing unions in healthcare settings.  

Observers don't expect Block and Griffin to gain confirmation by the Senate, as some Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has threatened to block any nominees to the board for the duration of Obama's term, the Associated Press reported. The nominations are feeding speculation that Obama will include Block and Griffin in a series of recess appointments to avoid lengthy confirmation fights. Obama formally withdrew the nomination of current board member Craig Becker Thursday, according to reports.