D.C. District Court Grants Injunction Temporarily Blocking Election Rule Changes
Late in the day on May 14, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the National Labor Relations Board's December 2011 decision to amend its election procedures is invalid because the Board did not have a statutorily required quorum in adopting the rule changes. See Chamber of Commerce v. NLRB (Dist. D.C., 05/14/2012).
In enjoining the implementation of the rules changes, the Court stated:
According to Woody Allen, eighty percent of life is just showing up. When it comes to satisfying a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that. Indeed, it is the only thing that matters - even when the quorum is constituted electronically.
The Court went on to say that:
Two members of the Board participated in the decision to adopt the final rule, and two is simply not enough. Member Hayes cannot be counted toward the quorum merely because he held office, and his participation in earlier decisions relating to the drafting of the rule does not suffice. He need not necessarily have voted, but he had to at least show up. At the end of the day, while the Court's decision may seem unduly technical, the quorum requirement, as the Supreme Court has made clear, is no trifle.
The early "line" on the Court's injunction is that it is a temporary reprieve, at best. In all probability, the Board will merely re-vote with its Democratic majority and implement the rule changes as proposed. Unless the courts strike the recess appointments to the Board, the election rule changes are here to stay.