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Labor Board To Revisit Spurlino Materials Portable Plant Ruling

A March 2009 order the National Labor Relations Board issued against the Indianapolis operations of Ohio ready mixed producer Spurlino Materials will

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A March 2009 order the National Labor Relations Board issued against the Indianapolis operations of Ohio ready mixed producer Spurlino Materials will be returned to the agency for review. The Supreme Court ruled that certain decisions NLRB issued from December 2007-March 2010 were subject to review. During that window, the board was operating with Chairman Wilma Liebman and Member Peter Schaumber. The High Court ruled that NLRB orders or decisions required three members, versus two.

In a review of an NLRB regional director's ruling, the Liebman/Schaumber board ordered Spurlino Materials to compensate drivers for lost wages and adhere to collective bargaining practices with drivers and batch operators who were part of a Teamsters-affiliated, certified unit. Spurlino counsel had asked the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision. The Supreme Court ruling prompted the Labor Board to revisit the case, hence delaying any potential appellate court action.

The Senate's late-June 2010 confirmation of Brian Hayes and Mark Pearce, whom President Obama had nominated in July 2009, brought the NLRB to full five-member strength for the first time since December 2007. Their confirmation vote had been stalled over partisan disputes centering on a third nominee, Craig Becker. An entrenched organized-labor advocate and former AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union associate general counsel, Becker was recess-appointed in late-March 2010 to a limited term, expiring in December 2011. Pearce was likewise appointed, although the Senate confirmation covers an April 2010-August 2013 term. Hayes, transferring from his post as Republican Labor Policy Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, fills a term expiring December 2012.

The NLRB comprises three members of the administration party, two of the minority party. Hayes joins fellow Republican Peter Schaumber, while Pearce and Becker join fellow Democrat and NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman. She and Schaumber issued about 600 decisions as a two-member board, although the June 2010 Supreme Court ruling holds that the agency does not have authority to act with fewer than three board members. The high court ruling casts doubt on many Liebman/Schaumber decisions, according to Philadelphia-based labor law specialist Ballard Spahr LLP. Employers subject to January 1, 2008-March 27, 2010 decisions, the firm notes, should assess cases to see if a re-review is warranted.