Labor leaders demand Senate action on NLRB

ORLANDO, Fla. – As expected, the AFL-CIO Executive Council issued a statement yesterday on the ongoing attempt by anti-worker politicians and their corporate sponsors to destroy the National Labor Relations Board.

“Our nation’s economic health depends on the ability of workers to join together and collectively bargain with their employers over wages and working conditions,” the statement read. “Yet instead of supporting workers and their collective bargaining rights they have engaged in an attempt to derail the key agency – the National Labor Relations Board – charged with enforcing these rights in the private sector.”

The statement goes on to list some of the tactics, including delay of Senate confirmations, to hobble the NLRB.

Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said last year, “I will continue to block all nominations to the NLRB. The NLRB as inoperable could be considered progress.”

The AFL-CIO statement says the worst attack on the NLRB came in a recent federal court of appeals decision to block three recess appointments – two Democrats and one Republican – made by Pres. Obama in January to guarantee that the board could function. The court said that the president did not have the right to make the appointments because they were made when the Senate was in “recess.”

“By the court’s logic,” said the AFL-CIO statement, “more than 300 recess appointments made by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Obama and both Presidents Bush were invalid.”

Meanwhile, the NLRB remains in operation with the appointees trying to carry out their jobs. Republican senators are demanding that they resign and they are introducing legislation to eliminate their pay.

As long as the appeals court ruling stands any employer can challenge NLRB rulings with which they disagree, meaning that the NLRB will be unable to enforce the law effectively for workers.

“This is an intolerable and unacceptable situation,” said the AFL-CIO statement. “Working people deserve a functioning NLRB that will enforce workers’ rights.”

The federation statement concluded by demanding the following course of action: “The president must immediately nominate, and the Senate must quickly confirm, a full package of nominees to the NLRB – five board members, including Chairman Mark Pearce, members Griffin and Block, two Republican members, and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon.

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must use every means available to win confirmation of this package of nominees. If Senate Republicans exploit the Senate rules and try to filibuster the president’s nominees, Senator Reid should take all necessary steps to overcome the filibuster, and if not successful, lead an effort to change Senate rules so the President’s nominees cannot be blocked by the minority.

“The Obama administration must continue to stress the importance of collective bargaining rights.”





John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. John Wojcik es editor en jefe de People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.