By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, July 2 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Tuesday declined a Cablevision Systems Corp request
seeking a stay of National Labor Relations Board proceedings in
light of a recent court action related to presidential
appointments to the board.
The company wanted a stay after the court decided last week
to hear a case that challenges three of President Barack Obama's
appointments to the board, which has cast into doubt whether it
had a quorum to conduct business. The stay application was
denied without comment by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The case the justices will hear in the court's next term,
starting in October, concerns the ability of the president to
make appointments without Senate approval.
So-called recess appointments have been increasingly used
over the past several decades by presidents from both major
political parties. They are used to appoint a candidate who
would likely have trouble winning U.S. Senate confirmation.
The Cablevision dispute was prompted by a complaint issued
by an NLRB regional director in the case alleges that
Cablevision refused to engage in meaningful bargaining, offered
non-unionized workers financial incentives that were not given
to a small group in Brooklyn that is represented by the
Communications Workers of America and discharged pro-union
A small number of the company's cable installers voted to
unionize in January 2012. Cablevision and the union have been
arguing over the issue before the board ever since.
Cablevision says that the NLRB blocked an employee vote on
whether they still wanted to be represented by the union.
The company said in its court filing that the board has
forced the company "to face groundless allegations of unlawful
If the chief justice had granted the stay, it would likely
have prompted other companies involved in NLRB proceedings to
make similar applications.
Referring to the NLRB appointments, Cablevision spokeswoman
Sarah Chaikin said in a statement that the Obama administration
"bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB in favor of Big
Although the chief justice rejected the stay application,
the company said it is confident the Supreme Court will find in
the case it has agreed to hear that the appointments were
invalid, which "will put a stop to the NLRB's evasion of the
Bob Master of the Communications Workers of America said in
a statement that the Cablevision employees "remain willing to
negotiate a fair contract, which would cost the company less
than all the lawyers they are hiring to bust the union."
As of mid-June, the federal appeals court in Washington has
temporarily put on hold 53 NLRB-related cases, pending the
outcome of the Supreme Court case.
On June 28, the appeals court rejected an earlier stay
request made by Cablevision. That court's reluctance to step in
may indicate that the judges are unwilling to find that actions
carried out by administrative law judges and others working
under the board's authority are invalidated, even if the board
itself did not have a quorum.