Tag: nominations

Senate Confirms NLRB Nominees Pearce and Hayes, not Becker

The Senate today confirmed the nominations of both Mark Pearce and Brian Hayes to the National Labor Relations Board, as part of a broader package of 64 nominees approved via unanimous consent. Notably missing from the package was the controversial nomination of Craig Becker, the former SEIU and AFL-CIO counsel, to the labor board.

In refusing to approve Becker for a full term, the Senate has acknowledged the legitimate objections raised against his nomination based on years of writing that advocated excluding employers from having any role in whether businesses should be organized. The Senate showed restraint; let’s hope when it comes to enforcing labor law and regulations, the NLRB does the same.

More background:

  • In March, President Obama made a recess of appointment of Becker and Pearce, and Becker can continue to serve through December 2011 under that appointment. Although nominated, Hayes did not receive a recess appointment.
  • Pearce, a Democrat, and Hayes, a Republican, will now be able to serve the full terms at the Board to which they were nominated. (For Pearce, a labor lawyer from Buffalo, that means through Aug. 27, 2013; for Hayes, a Republican committee attorney, it’s Dec. 16, 2012.)
  • Once the two nominees are sworn in, the NLRB will have a full complement of five members, but only until the term of Republican Peter Schaumber expires at the end of August.

News…

UPDATE: The NRLB issued a news release on the Pearce and Hayes confirmation.

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Craig Becker Nominated to the NLRB…for a Third Time

President has once again nominated Craig Becker to the powerful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday despite the many, persistent concerns of the National Association of Manufacturers and the broader employer community. Bipartisan Senate opposition stemming from his radical views of labor law had previously blocked Becker’s confirmation, but the President moved ahead with a recess appointment over the Easter Recess to seat Mr. Becker directly to the NLRB. This recess appointment lasts through the end of the next session of the Senate, effectively December 2011. The term that Becker has been once again nominated for is a five-year term ending December 16, 2014.

We have opposed the nomination of Craig Becker to the NLRB because of his detailed writings suggesting he will seek to implement significant policy changes through NLRB actions that go counter to the principles of fairness and balance that are inherent in our labor law system. As we’ve previously highlighted, labor leaders see the new NLRB as an opportunity to put parts of the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act into place without Congressional approval. While we are disappointed with this renewed push to make Becker a long-term member of the Board, we will remain vigilant in watching the Board’s actions.

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Why Not Confirm the Pending NLRB Nominees to the Board?

As noted at Shopfloor yesterday, many labor groups are pressuring President Obama to seat Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) via a recess appointment, despite objections from the Senate. Some have questioned the validity of the Board’s current quorum and have argued that with only two members the Board is crippled. However, if the Senate truly feels that the Board needs an unquestionable quorum to be successful, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), who serves at the Ranking Member on the Senate HELP Committee, lays out an easier option: Confirm the two pending nominees.

From a Feb. 9 floor statement:

I wish to point out that there is another way. There at three current vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board, and the HELP Committee has unanimously approved the President’s other two nominees. If the Senate wanted to confirm two new members to the Board, it could have easily done so today. [February 9, 2010] In fact, it could have done so last year. One of these nominees, Mark Pearce [a Democrat], is a labor-side attorney who has spent his career representing labor unions. The other is a Republican nominee with management-side experience in addition to tenures on the staff of the National Labor Relations Board and in the Senate as my labor policy director, Brian Hayes. Yet these nominees did not inspire objections from HELP members on either side of the aisle.

It is disingenuous to suggest that the only way that the Board can function properly is through the controversial action of a recess appointment. If the Senate wants to ensure the effective operation of the NLRB, Senator should move to confirm the other two nominees now awaiting confirmation.

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OSHA Nomination: Tradition. TRADITION!

David Michaels has been nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Although the NAM and many other employer groups have urged the Senate HELP Committee to hold a formal hearing on his nomination, the Committee appears to be moving forward with no such public inquiry. On Wednesday the Committee will consider his nomination in a business meeting with a vote likely to follow.

Senator Harkin (D-IA) who chairs the Senate HELP Committee has expressed his commitment to adhere to long standing Committee precedent and tradition. He recently asserted during the executive session that considered the nomination of Craig Becker to serve on the National Labor Relations Board that it “has been the tradition in our Committee, we will vote on this group of nominees en bloc.” He added that it’s uncommon for the Committee to hold hearings on individual nominees to the NLRB.

If tradition is the determining factor, then the Chairman should hold a hearing on Michaels. As we noted in a joint letter from many employer groups to the Committee:

Finally, nominees for OSHA Assistant Secretary have traditionally had to appear at a hearing, even when the administration and the Senate were controlled by the same party. With the aggressive posture for OSHA being signaled by the Obama administration, Professor Michaels’ nomination should be treated no differently than the other nominees who were given a hearing.

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