Senate confirms second Trump nominee to labor board

Senate confirms second Trump nominee to labor board
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The Senate confirmed President Trump’s second pick to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Monday evening, shifting the balance of power from Democrats to Republicans.

The Senate voted 49-47 to confirm William Emanuel to the board charged with enforcing fair labor practices and workers’ collective bargaining rights. 

Emanuel, a corporate lawyer who works for Littler Mendelson in Los Angeles, is the second Trump nominee to be confirmed to the board after Marvin Kaplan's confirmation in August.

With Emanuel, Republicans now hold the majority on the five-member board.

Industry groups have long claimed the NLRB has catered to labor unions. 

They are hoping the newly aligned board will reverse the ruling that redefined what constitutes a joint-employer and made franchisors responsible for labor law violations committed by their franchisees, as well as a ruling that allowed unions to organize employees in so-called micro-unions.

A roll back of 2014 rules which sped up union elections is also on the wish list.

In a statement, Trey Kovacs, labor policy expert for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Emanuel "should prove" to be an "outstanding addition" to the board.

“It’s essential that the NLRB start to undo the harm caused during the Obama administration, when the board put out numerous job-killing decisions and rules that weaken worker choice,” he said.

“Top priorities of the NLRB should include: overturning the joint employer decision, which exposes large and small businesses to near-unlimited liability, and rescinding the union ‘ambush election’ rule that threatens worker privacy,” he said.

Emanuel was confirmed despite Democratic opposition. 

On the Senate floor Monday evening, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayA bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Overnight Health Care: ObamaCare sign-ups surge in early days Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-Wash.) urged her colleagues to vote "no" on Emanuel, citing concerns that his record as a corporate lawyer will lead him to put corporate interests over those workers.

“I’m afraid workers’ fundamental rights are not safe in his hands,” she said.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Schumer: Dems want DACA fix in government spending bill The Hill interview — DNC chief: I came here to win elections MORE (D-Mass.) called Emanuel a “dream nominee” for corporate donors and special interests.

She said industry groups, including the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded Trump’s pick “with almost a giddy enthusiasm and urged the Republican Senate to quickly confirm him to the board.”

“Unless a few of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle choose to stand up for workers, they will get their wish,” she said.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell expects Paul to return to Senate next week Former Hill staff calls for mandatory harassment training Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Ky.), however, claimed Emanuel is needed to return the board to its designated role as a neutral umpire.

“For more than 80 years, the NLRB has been responsible for the impartial resolution of labor disputes and for ensuring stable labor relations,” he said in remarks on the floor.

“Under the board majority appointed by the Obama administration, however, the NLRB moved from fair administrator of the law to partisan activist — one that put left-wing ideology, deep-pocketed union bosses and other special interest friends ahead of middle-class workers,” he said.

With a new majority, McConnell said the board can begin to undo the “severe damage” it has done with the "ambush election" rules and joint-employer mandate.