The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday voted (13–9) to send the nominations of Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. The vote will likely be next week.
Schiffer is a former AFL-CIO associate general counsel who also served as an attorney in the NLRB’s regional office in Detroit and in private practice. She told the committee earlier this week:
My work on NLRA [National Labor Relations Act] issues over the years has given me a deep appreciation for the work that the board does and how important it is for all involved—workers, employers and labor unions—and how much it matters that disputes get resolved fairly and in a timely manner.
Hirozawa is currently the chief counsel to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce and also served as an NLRB regional attorney as well as in a private practice. He told the panel:
Back when I was a board agent in Region 2, I once heard another employee described as “pro-Act.” Not pro-union or pro-management, but pro-Act, dedicated solely to advancing the policies and purposes of the National Labor Relations Act without regard to the identities or alignments of the parties. That has always struck me as an apt term of praise for an employee of the board. And that is what I will aspire to if I am confirmed as a member of the board.
All committee Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), voted for the pair while the remaining Republicans on the panel voted against.
Schiffer and Hirozawa were nominated to the NLRB following an agreement by Senate Republicans to lift their blockade of a number of President Obama’s nominations to Cabinet positions and key agencies, including the NLRB. Among those confirmed following the agreement are Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.