Miller Demands NLRB Member Hayes’ Documents Regarding Improper Efforts to Shut Down the Board

Nov 23, 2011 Issues: Labor


WASHINGTON – Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, today demanded communications of National Labor Relations Board member Brian Hayes discussing his resignation, future employment, or any enticements by private parties he has received to encourage his resignation and effectively shut down the NLRB.

“I have read reports of special interest organizations and individuals calling on you to resign precisely to incapacitate the Board. I am also in receipt of a November 21, 2011 letter from Board Chairman Pearce to you indicating that you have indeed threatened to resign,” wrote Miller. “The open calls to resign, followed by the threats you allegedly have made, raise the specter of private requests as well. I am concerned that any decision to resign prematurely will be the result of objectionable motives or improper influence.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that the NLRB must have at least three board members to carry out responsibilities such as issuing rulings on cases or promulgating rules. With the expiration of the term of a board member this summer, the NLRB only has three board members.  Another member’s recess appointment will expire at the end of the year.

In light of this, some conservative groups and at least one elected official have called on the only Republican member to resign his position, thereby denying the quorum needed to keep the NLRB operational. The November 21 letter from Chairman Pearce indicates that Hayes has indeed threatened to resign over NLRB actions he disagrees with.

“Short of resignation, there are indicia of other behaviors that appear designed to incapacitate the Board or otherwise obstruct its business,” Miller wrote. “All of these developments – from the public calls for your resignation to the behaviors described in Chairman Pearce’s letter – paint a troubling picture of your activity – or inactivity – at the Board. The integrity and viability of the Board depend upon the good faith execution of its Members’ responsibilities. Threatening to shut down the Board itself if fellow Members make policy choices with which you disagree is, to my knowledge, unprecedented behavior from a Member of the Board.”

The NLRB has come under increasing attack by Republicans and special interest groups since the beginning of the year. Republicans have tried to defund the agency, passed legislation to take away any effective sanctions the NLRB can use to enforce laws protecting workers from retaliation, and interfered with ongoing enforcement actions. Only the NLRB can enforce workers’ and employers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Specifically, Miller asked for:

1.                  A list of  all communications between the Honorable Brian Hayes and any parties external to the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board) regarding Member Hayes’ resignation from the Board or future employment from December 1, 2010, through the date of this request. The list shall include the date and description of each such communication and the identities of the individuals involved.

2.                  All documents related to such communications from December 1, 2010, through the date of this request.  

3.                  All documents related to the Board’s required ethics training completed by the Honorable Brian Hayes from June 29, 2010, through the date of this request.

4.                  A copy of the Honorable Brian Hayes’ executed Ethics Commitment by Executive Branch Personnel pursuant to Executive Order 13490 (January 21, 2009).

Read Miller’s full letter to NLRB Member Hayes.