A business group urged lawmakers to vote on other nominees for spots on a labor board after the Senate rejected a third, controversial nominee last week.
The Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) pledged not to mobilize supporters against the one Republican and one Democratic nominee left for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the leader of the AFL-CIO lamented that the rejection of a third nominee, attorney Craig Becker, would hinder the productivity of the board.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka demanded last week that President Barack Obama use a recess appointment to add Becker and the other Democratic nominee, Mark Pearce, to the board, in order to ensure it's "fully functional," prompting WFI to call for votes on the other two nominees.
"I think you could confirm them with very little fanfare, and have an effective, functioning NLRB," WFI executive director Katie Packer said of Pearce and the other nominee, GOP staffer Brian Hayes.
"We just don't like Becker. Obama has nominated three people to the board -- one is a Republican, two are Democrats -- and no one has an objection to the other Democrat," Packer added. "We've looked at the records of both of them, and there doesn't seem to be anything objectionable."
But the AFL-CIO rejected calls for the nominees, which are traditionally moved together as a package, reasoning that adding two more members to the NLRB would still mean a 2-2 split among members that is unlikely to aid the board's work.
"Having a 2-2 split doesn't really move the board in a more productive direction than having a 1-1 split," AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuel said. "To split them up, I think, would be a mistake, especially given what we think has been a pretty significant showing of poor faith by Republicans."
Samuel also said that the top labor group still believes Obama should have his choice of nominees for the board, including Becker, who is unable to reach cloture in the Senate.
"We start from the basis that the president should get to serve who's on presidential boards and commissions," Samuel said. "We're not going to back off that."