Members of Congress tell McConnell to stop blocking NLRB nominees

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- U.S. Reps. Linda Sanchez and Joe Courtney on Tuesday joined a group of American workers in calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop threatening to block a Senate vote on nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.



Currently, the board is at the center of a dispute over recess appointments.


Sanchez, D-Calif., and Courtney, D-Conn., on Tuesday also released a letter signed by more than 200 House Democrats demanding that McConnell, R-Ky., end the "ideological attacks" on workers' rights and consider the full package of President Barack Obama's NLRB nominees.


"More than 80 million private sector employees rely on the National Labor Relations Board for protection from unfair labor practices," Sanchez said. "By threatening to shut down the NLRB's ability to function, Sen. McConnell and Senate Republicans undermine the very foundation of our country's labor laws and workplace protections.


"Republicans should stop this reckless attack on workers' rights. The American people deserve better than this. They deserve to have a fully functioning NLRB so that workers are on equal ground with their employers."


Courtney called the move "shameful" and a "blatant attempt" to prevent the NLRB from functioning for the nation's workers and employers.


"Without a functioning board, appeals would not be heard, decisions would not be enforced, and violations of workers' rights would go without remedy," he said.


"I call on Sen. McConnell to drop these obstructionist tactics and allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to consider the President's appointments to the NLRB."



McConnell has said he will block the nominations of current NLRB members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, after they refused to abide by a court ruling declaring their appointments unconstitutional.


In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the President's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the board was an unconstitutional abuse of power because he could not make those appointments without U.S. Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess.


Obama re-nominated Block and Griffin to the five-member board in February.


In April, the President also nominated Philip Miscimarra, a partner in the labor and employment group of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, to the board.


Obama also re-nominated Mark Gaston Pearce and designated him chair of the board, and nominated Harry I. Johnson III as a member.


Pearce is currently chairman of the board, a position he has held since August 2011. He has served as a member since March 2010.


Johnson is currently a partner with Arent Fox LLP, a position he has held since 2010. Previously, he worked at Jones Day as a partner from 2006 to 2010 and as an associate from 1994 to 2005.


Board members are nominated by the President, subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.


If the Senate does not confirm Obama's five nominees, the board will cease to function in August. However, regional NLRB offices will still be in place to enforce labor laws.


To read the letter sent to McConnell, click here.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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