President Obama's nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have proven a prescription for trouble, and Lauren McFerran is no exception. Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWisconsin lawmaker gets buzz-cut after vowing not to cut hair until sign language bill passed Democratic debates kick off Iowa summer sprint Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (D-Iowa) promptly whisked McFerran to her examination — Thursday's confirmation hearing — after her nomination last week.

Filibuster: Heart of the Senate

The filibuster can be considered the heart of the U.S. Senate, and Democrats punctured one of the ventricles when they ended the filibuster for nominations, although the filibuster for legislation still functions. The patient is not well, and NLRB nominations are the cause.

Blocked passage

Originally, the issue was Republican stones blocking passage of Obama's NLRB nominees through the U.S. Senate kidney. Democrats prescribed nuclear medicine — the nuclear option to remove the 60-vote threshold of a filibuster.

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Eschewing shrinkage of their stones to 50-vote size and concerned about their health, Republicans preferred a minimally invasive procedure to allow passage of nominees. Republicans agreed to swallow two NLRB nominees now and another later.

In return, Democrats would surgically remove the unconstitutionally appointed duo of Sharon Block and Richard Griffin from renomination to the NLRB spots they held.

Getting the treatment

Republicans breathed a sigh of relief after Block and Griffin were finally removed from the system, and they dozed off under the anesthetic of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) voice. But Democrats were not finished giving Republicans the treatment.

Upon awakening, Republicans were wheezing and shocked to see a double-cross scar where Democrats had indeed administered bad medicine — the nuclear option.

Reintroduction

Furthermore, Republicans detected certain soreness, only to discover that Obama had reintroduced Sharon Block and Richard Griffin into the NLRB system, in technically different, but virtually the same vital spots.

Virulent thinking

To make matters worse, the material the NLRB has been producing has become even worse. Richard Griffin's thinking, after his confirmation as NLRB general counsel "despite Republican concerns about his union background and his time as a recess appointee to the board," is causing a lot of pain:

  • Commercial interests are apoplectic about whether franchises, staffing agencies and contractors/subcontractors will suffer major changes to their businesses, as leftist theories attempt to make businesses joint employers and transform everyone into an employee of a big conglomerate that faces huge liabilities and expenses and is more easily unionized.
  • Privacy advocates have been given a severe pain in the neck with NLRB attempts to give Big Labor workers' private information so that, in addition to knocking at the doors of workers’ homes, Big Labor can email, text, FaceTime, Gchat, Snapchat, Facebook message, Instagram and tweet workers.
  • Property rights defenders are hamstrung by NLRB efforts to give Big Labor the use of businesses' email systems for unionization purposes unrelated to the business.
  • The NLRB delivered a real hit to the solar plexus of businesses small and large with the concept that profane and insubordinate actions — cursing out and telling off bosses, even in front of customers — are to be considered protected unionization activity.
  • The NLRB is giving restaurants a throbbing headache by affording Big Labor the ability to put up anti-business posters in the business, in plain view of customers as they order their meals.
  • Collegiate student athletes could wind up concussed if the NLRB reverses decades of precedent and delivers the blow of re-categorizing grant-in-aid students as employees, thereby allowing the United Steelworkers to unionize them.
  • Employers have severely stubbed their toe on the NLRB push to have unions and bargaining units as small as two people — micro-unions — which creates massive administrative havoc.
  • The NLRB is attempting to operate with union elections in as few as 10 days from the request to unionize, thereby ambushing businesses that are left without time to discuss downsides.

These examples are only some of the symptoms of the NLRB advancing Big Labor's problematic agenda.

New nominee: Lifeblood of problematic agenda

Last week's withdrawal of Sharon Block's nomination came as a shock, since she had already been bipartisanly voted out of committee and since there was no opportunity for Republicans to filibuster her.

Democrats are apparently calculating that Lauren McFerran, the new NLRB nominee, will take less of the precious Senate floor time during the lame-duck session.

Either way, the new NLRB nominee represents the lifeblood — the essential deciding vote — for President Obama's pen-and-phone strategy to advance Big Labor's problematic agenda.

Don't rush; NLRB healthier without nominee

Republicans would be wise to conduct a thorough examination and not rush the process. The NLRB has been without five members for 90 percent of the time over the past 10-plus years. The NLRB system would function just fine — really, in a much healthier fashion — without this nominee in place and with a balance of NLRB members.

Hogan is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.