Wilma Liebman who served 14 years on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—including chairwoman from 2009–2011—says, “Appointments to the NLRB have been a political battleground for decades.” But, in a column in Politico, she says the current attack on the NLRB is the most vicious since the board was created in the 1930s.
The turmoil of the past few years has been exceptional. The NLRB, a product of the New Deal, has become a lightning rod for accelerating political controversy not seen since its early days. It became entangled in the bitter partisan fights of the 2012 election season with the attacks on government and the broad campaign to weaken organized labor’s political influence.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a package of five nominees to the NLRB by President Obama. The five—three Democrats and two Republicans, including a pair of union lawyers and two management attorneys—are expected to be voted out of committee along a party-line vote.
But they must be confirmed by the full Senate and overcome a possible Republican filibuster 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.
Liebman notes that at last week’s hearings lawmakers from both parties said the five were highly experienced and qualified and “at any other time, their confirmation would be a virtual certainty.”
Surely, the unions, employers and individual employees who rely on the NLRB to resolve disputes over unfair labor practices and union representation deserve better than this crisis of governance. They deserve—indeed need—a government that works, not dysfunction and partisan warfare.
Senator Grassley will be holding seven town hall meetings next week and we need to be there talking about this issue.
Ask him about the rules change in the Senate to get these nominations done. If we don’t get confirmations, there will not be a NLRB to protect workers rights.
Senator Grassley Recess Town Hall Meetings
May 29-30, 2013
Calhoun County: May 29 9:15 AM, Rockwell City Community Center, Room C, 424 Main St, Rockwell City
Webster County: May 29 11:15 AM, Fort Dodge Public Library, Meeting Room, 424 Central Ave, Fort Dodge.
Humboldt County: May 29, 1:30 PM, Humboldt County Courthouse, Courtroom, 203 Main St., Dakota City.
Pocahontas County: May 29, 3:15PM, Pocahontas Public LIbrary, Community Room, 12 2nd Ave NW, Pocahontas.
Palo Alto County, May 29, 5 PM Iowa Lakes Community College, Emmetsburg Campus, Campus Auditorium, 3200 College Drive, Emmetsburg.
Emmet County, May 30 8 AM, Iowa Lakes Community Colege, Auditorium, Room 16, 300 South 18th St., Estherville.
Kossuth County, May 30, 10:30 AM, Kossuth County Courthouse, Assembly Room, 114 West State St. , Algona