Over the Memorial Day Weekend a Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board – lawyer Terence F. Flynn – resigned after weeks of controversy over his leaking of confidential NLRB legal and other documents in clear violation of ethics laws to Republican lawyers who opposed the NLRB in legal as well as political matters. Flynn during his nine years at NLRB oversaw a variety of legal and policy issues in cases arising under the National Labor Relations Act.
Speaking to NLRB employees this morning the four remaining Board members – NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Members Brian Hayes, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block – said: “Today we ask you to reflect on the mission of this agency. We are here to enforce a statute that guarantees the right of employees to organize, bargain collectively with their employers or to refrain from all such activity.
“This statute, the National Labor Relations Act, implements this nation’s labor policy – a policy that assures free choice and encourages collective bargaining as a means of maintaining industrial peace. We serve the public in this regard employing the highest of ethical standards.”
Flynn’s resignation as a temporary Board member is effective 24 July 2012, a laughably long time given the seriousness of the findings by the Inspector General of many instances of misconduct. In the view of numerous critics and pundits, Flynn should resign immediately and the Department of Justice should pursue criminal charges.
For the moment, Flynn has recused himself from all agency business and has asked that the President withdraw his pending permanent nomination for Board Member of the NLRB.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has been and continues to be outspoken on what will also become a contentious election year issue: “Working people deserve to know that public officials who take an oath to honor the public trust will do so – and that is especially true for officials charged with protecting workers’ rights,” Trumka said.
“These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney. A key advisor has been found to use his inside connections in a way that resulted in the violation of ethics rules. Allowing Schaumber to remain as an advisor will speak volumes about candidate Romney and the value he places on ethics in government officials. He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber,” Trumka said.
Oddly, the United Auto Workers Union – once again attempting organize auto plants in Southern states that are actively hostile to collective bargaining rights – has remained silent on the Flynn matter.
Flynn was sworn in as a NLRB Board Member on 9 January 2012. He joined the Board in 2003 as Chief Counsel to then Member Peter Schaumber, a prominent Republican and now an adviser to Mitt Romney on labor matters.