NLRB Nominees Closer to Confirmation

Following the Senate’s confirmation of Thomas Perez as secretary of Labor last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday approved President Obama’s two new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.

The moves came after a bit of deal-making last week and ended a stalemate over several of Obama’s nominations. The National Labor Relations Board has been in limbo since a federal appeals court ruled the president exceeded his authority in appointing three members while senators were on break last year.

The board being in limbo has forced workers into limbo too — the NLRB has made hundreds of decisions since the recess appointments and employers have challenged many of those rulings. The NLRB meanwhile will ask the Supreme Court to look at the appeals court’s ruling, but if the high court rejects the NLRB case, all of those decisions would be nullified.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was hoping for a full Senate vote this week on those two NLRB nominees, along with the other three who were approved by the committee earlier this year. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who voted against the two new nominees, said Republicans won’t seek to block confirmation with a filibuster.

The NLRB protects more than 80 million private sector workers. It hasn’t had a full slate of five members since 2003. In New Hampshire, the NLRB covers private sector workers, such as the SEA members at Hampstead Hospital; all other SEA members are covered by the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board, or PELRB. You can find out a bit more about the NLRB here: http://www.seiu.org/nlrb/.

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