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Supreme Court Denies Cablevision's Petition to Review Labor Dispute

UPDATED: James Dolan's company says the Obama Administration bypassed Congress, but the high court won't stay proceedings at the National Labor Relations Board.

Cablevision has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Monday, the cable company petitioned for an emergency stay to halt the National Labor Relations Board's investigation of complaints that it has intimidated and spied on workers, illegally terminated 22 workers and bargained in bad faith.

The move came after James Dolan's company struck out at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday.

Over the past year, Cablevision has been in the midst of a brutal public battle with the Communication Workers of America over pay for technicians and allegations of union-busting. In May, Cablevision sought the intervention of an appeals court to stay proceedings at the NLRB, and the company hoped that the high court would take up the issue of the NLRB's authority.

But on Tuesday, Justice John Roberts denied the application without offering any reason.

In some ways, Cablevision was looking to glam onto National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a case that first raised the idea that the NLRB  “lacked authority to act for want of a quorum, as three members of the five-member Board were never validly appointed.”

The reason why those members weren't "validly appointed," in the court's opinion was that President Barack Obama made appointments to the NLRB during the Senate recess. As such, the appointments didn't require confirmation, but the exact nature of the Senate's recess has been subject to scrutiny.

When Cablevision filed an appeal, and urged the D.C. Circuit to stay the NLRB proceedings, it called the president's recess appointments "unconstitutional."

Still, that wasn't enough for the DC Circuit to grant Cablevision's requested stay. On Friday, the appeals court rejected Cablevision's application to suspend NLRB proceedings.

Last week, the Canning case was granted review by the Supreme Court, and Cablevision wished to be part of the action.

In announcing that it is going to the Supreme Court, Cablevision commented, "The role of Congress is to ensure a balanced NLRB, and the Obama Administration bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB in favor of Big Labor. Two different federal courts -- the D.C. Circuit and the Third Circuit -- have established that the NLRB is illegally constituted and has no authority to take action. The NLRB continues to ignore these rulings, and we ask the Supreme Court to compel the NLRB to immediately halt its unlawful proceedings against Cablevision."

Two weeks ago, the Communication Workers of America launched an ad blitz in TV, newspaper and online ads that called Dolan "a “threat to workers everywhere” for attempting to undermine the nation’s labor board.

“Every time someone else tells Cablevision 'no,' they have an answer -- hire another lawyer and start a new proceeding,” said Pete Sikora, New York State legislative and political director of the CWA District 1. “Rather than continuing to spend more and more money on legal bills, Cablevision should simply settle this contract and be done with this.”

E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner