Trump labor board nominees advance in Senate

Trump labor board nominees advance in Senate
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A Senate panel on Wednesday advanced the nominations of two lawyers picked by President Trump to fill the open seats on the National Labor Relations Board.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 12-11 along party lines to send the nominations of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to the floor for a full vote.

Kaplan now serves as chief counsel for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Emanuel, an attorney with the law firm Littler Mendelson, works on labor and employment matters and has represented clients before the NLRB.

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With their nominations to the five-member board, Trump has the opportunity to shift the balance of power on the NLRB from Democrats to Republicans. Business groups have long argued the board — responsible for enforcing workers’ collective bargaining rights and fair labor practices — unfairly favors unions or employers.

“By returning the composition of the National Labor Relations Board from a partisan operation to one that will look out for both hardworking Americans and job creators, we are taking another step toward helping restore America’s economy,” Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonCongress is working to honor America’s heroes Bipartisan lawmakers can rebuild trust by passing infusion therapy bill 24 senators co-sponsor bipartisan ObamaCare deal MORE (R-Ga.), a committee member, said in a statement following the vote.

“For too long, our National Labor Relations Board has been out of balance. These nominees are highly qualified and will help ensure a fair playing field in the workplace. I urge their swift confirmation by the U.S. Senate.”

Democrats, however, raised concerns about the committee's swift action and the nominees' records.  

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.) said she wished the committee had been given more time to consider the nominees.

“Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Kaplan are being rushed through at an unprecedented speed for NLRB nominees,” she said.

“We just received answers to our questions for the record from these two nominees yesterday giving us only day to review answers to critical questions about whether these nominees intend to stand up for workers as President Trump promised to do or follow in President Trump’s footsteps and break on promise after another to workers.”

Murray noted that the preamble of the National Labor Relations Act states it is the policy of the U.S. to encourage collective bargaining to give workers a voice to speak up for fair wages and safe working conditions.

“When questioned last week, Mr. Emanuel offered up no answers as to how his solidly anti-worker, anti-union record would help him protect workers if he’s confirmed to the board,” she said.

“And after I expressed concerns about Mr. Kaplan’s lack of legal experience practicing before the NLRB at last week’s hearing, he made comments confusing basic labor issues and decisions, further proving he doesn’t have the expertise to serve on this critically important on this board.”