The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, July 26, 2013

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman



Labor hails end of NLRB standoff

WASHINGTON (PAI) – On July 16, the Senate solved a fight between its Republican minority and Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama, over National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) nominees.

The GOP planned to filibuster at least two, if not all five, of Obama’s NLRB nominees.  That would have brought the board itself to a dead halt, due to lack of members to transact business – a quorum – in late August.

Labor lobbied Reid hard to confirm all five and to eliminate the filibusters, by changing Senate rules, if the GOP resisted.  In the end, Reid compromised: The GOP dropped the filibuster threat and Obama dropped the two NLRB nominees at the center of the fight, pro-worker members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin. 

Below is AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s statement on the outcome:

“Although it took an 11th-hour deal, a shimmer of light has broken through the extreme Republican obstruction in the Senate.  It is finally time to end the unprecedented blocking of President Obama’s nominees, which has spanned more than 700 days.

“More important, a confirmed NLRB will provide millions of workers with real protection of their rights to organize and bargain with their employers.  Our founding fathers granted the Senate the power to advise and consent, not to obstruct and extort.  It is downright shameful that some Republicans were willing to take the Senate to the brink of paralysis by playing politics with workers’ rights.

“America’s working families applaud Sen. Reid for following through on his promise to provide an up-or-down vote on President Obama’s nominees.  Praise also goes to the Communications Workers of America and their strong leadership as well as the leadership of our affiliated unions and allies in ensuring the NLRB function to protect the rights of all workers. 

“And we thank President Obama for his leadership in ensuring our country will have qualified public servants to run the Labor Department, the NLRB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.   These crucial agencies defend workers, businesses, families, and consumers.  As Kathleen Von Eitzen, a Panera Bread baker who traveled to Washington last week, said, ‘I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat, I care that you work together and govern this country, that’s what you were sent to Washington to do.’

“The labor movement and our allies will continue to hold our leaders accountable to maintain a functioning government that works for the American people.”