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Supreme Court declines Cablevision stay application

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined a Cablevision Systems Corp request seeking a stay of National Labor Relations Board proceedings in which the company is involved.

The company wanted a stay in light of the court's decision 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.

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 employees.

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 conduct."

If the chief justice had granted the stay, it would likely have prompted other companies involved in NLRB proceedings to make similar applications.

A Cablevision representative was not immediately available for comment.

The case the court agreed to take up last week 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.

In the court's next term, starting in October, the nine justices will consider whether three appointments President Barack Obama made to the board in January 2012 were invalid because the Senate was not technically in recess at the time.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Howard Goller, Will Dunham and Stacey Joyce)

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