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Trumka Demands Recess Appointments for Becker, NLRB Nominees

AFL-CIO Leader Richard Trumka

Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, just posted a vow to bombard the White House with calls, demanding recess appointments for key nominees to get the National Labor Relations Board working again.

In contrast to reports that labor was staying muted during this fight, Trumka called the deal in the Senate last night to pass a handful of Obama nominees while leaving others like Craig Becker in limbo “a big loss for working people.” Trumka added that the NLRB has had only two members on its five-person board for over two years, rendering it non-functional.

We’re used to the Republicans playing the role of Lucy and yanking the football away each time Charlie Brown tries to kick it. We’ve seen it on health care, jobs legislation, you name it.

President Obama has to end this farce.

Becker already received majority approval from the Senate, but apparently majority rule isn’t good enough any more. A Republican filibuster — joined by Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) — blocked his nomination from going forward. By contrast, when President Bush made his initial appointments to the NLRB, a package of nominees including three management lawyers was approved unanimously.

So today and every day through the congressional recess, union members and other activists from working America will be calling the White House and demanding a recess appointment now for Craig Becker and Mark Pearce.

Note that Trumka is putting the pressure squarely on the White House, not the Senate, to get the job done during the recess by appointing Becker and Pearce. Importantly, no Republican has raised any vocal objection to Pearce being seated; there was a deal previously to seat all three outstanding nominees for the NLRB (including Republican nominee Brian Hayes, a former staffer to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) – there’s always a 3-2 partisan split on the board based on which party holds the Presidency) at once. So failing to seat Becker means that the NLRB can effectively do nothing.

Trumka added that it has been 13 months since the Inauguration, and both Congressional representatives and the President should be made aware “that protection of workers’ rights is one of the first and most important changes working people expected to see when they voted in 2008.”

We’ll see what kind of activism campaign the AFL-CIO comes up with, as suggested by this article.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Trumka Demands Recess Appointments For Becker, NLRB Nominees

Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, just posted a vow to bombard the White House with calls, demanding recess appointments for key nominees to get the National Labor Relations Board working again.

In contrast to reports that labor was staying muted during this fight, Trumka called the deal in the Senate last night to pass a handful of Obama nominees while leaving others like Craig Becker in limbo “a big loss for working people.” Trumka added that the NLRB has had only two members on its five-person board for over two years, rendering it non-functional.

We’re used to the Republicans playing the role of Lucy and yanking the football away each time Charlie Brown tries to kick it. We’ve seen it on health care, jobs legislation, you name it.

President Obama has to end this farce.

Becker already received majority approval from the Senate, but apparently majority rule isn’t good enough any more. A Republican filibuster — joined by Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) — blocked his nomination from going forward. By contrast, when President Bush made his initial appointments to the NLRB, a package of nominees including three management lawyers was approved unanimously.

So today and every day through the congressional recess, union members and other activists from working America will be calling the White House and demanding a recess appointment now for Craig Becker and Mark Pearce.

Note that Trumka is putting the pressure squarely on the White House, not the Senate, to get the job done during the recess by appointing Becker and Pearce. Importantly, no Republican has raised any vocal objection to Pearce being seated; there was a deal previously to seat all three outstanding nominees for the NLRB (including Republican nominee Brian Hayes, a former staffer to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) – there’s always a 3-2 partisan split on the board based on which party holds the Presidency) at once. So failing to seat Becker means that the NLRB can effectively do nothing.

Trumka added that it has been 13 months since the Inauguration, and both Congressional representatives and the President should be made aware “that protection of workers’ rights is one of the first and most important changes working people expected to see when they voted in 2008.”

We’ll see what kind of activism campaign the AFL-CIO comes up with, as suggested by this article.

UPDATE: And the AFL-CIO has sent out an action alert to their list, asking supporters to contact the White House and demand a recess appointment. The whole letter is below.

Dear xxxx,

We’ve just learned that the Senate and the White House cut a last-minute deal with obstructionist Republicans to approve some of President Obama’s nominees. But guess who was left out of the deal? Yup, that’s right: working people.

Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, highly respected labor lawyers whom President Obama nominated for seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), weren’t included in the deal. Meanwhile, the NLRB, tasked with protecting American workers’ rights, has been handicapped with vacancies for the past two years.

Enough is enough. Call the White House switchboard today and demand that President Obama fight Republican obstructionism and use his executive power to appoint Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the NLRB during the Presidents Day recess.

Call the White House Switchboard NOW: 202-456-1111 OR 202-456-1414.

Becker already has received majority backing in the Senate and both won committee support, but the Republican minority has continually blocked their appointments. America’s working people are getting short shrift and it’s past time to do something about it. Workers need an NLRB that can enforce the National Labor Relations Act and protect workers’ rights—not an NLRB handicapped by vacancies.

In solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
AFL-CIO President

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