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 Murray30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion Overnight Finance: Mulvaney sparks confusion with budget remarks | Trump spars with lawmakers on tariffs | Treasury looks to kill 300 tax regs | Intel chief's warning on debt 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 WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 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 McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure 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.