The fight over President Obama’s five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is headed to the U.S. Senate floor after the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee voted today to send the five to the full Senate. Now the question is, will Senate Republicans filibuster?
The nominees—three Democrats and two Republicans—must be confirmed before August, when the term of one of the current NLRB members ends and the board will be without a quorum and unable to function.
In a recent column in The Hill, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote:
Extremist congressional Republicans and corporate lobbyists…want to weaken its power to protect workers who choose to organize and form unions on the job....South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a key leader of the charge, said, ‘I will continue to block all nominations to the NLRB....The NLRB as inoperable could be considered progress.’
The five are current board members, Chairman Mark Pearce and members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin—and attorneys Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, who represent management in labor-management relations.
The effort to block the nominations is part of a years-long campaign to cripple the NLRB that includes legislation to de-fund the board, to shut it down, to curtail its work and legal challenges that have stalled justice for many workers.
One of those workers is Illinois pressman Marcus Hedger (see video above) who was illegally fired in 2010 and who the NLRB ordered reinstated with back pay. But Hedger is caught in the legal limbo generated by a recent court decision in favor of employers and anti-worker groups challenging the authority of the NLRB. He has since lost his home to foreclosure and is working at a job that pays only about one-third of what he previously earned.
Text NLRB to 235246 and ask the Senate to confirm the board nominations now. (Standard message and data rates may apply.)
You also may call your senators at 1-888-264-6154.