The APWU and the entire labor movement are demanding that a minority of senators stop blocking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from protecting workers’ rights on the job.
“We can’t let Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans shut down the federal agency that protects the rights of American workers,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
Standing in the way of action on pending nominations to the board is the ongoing abuse of the Senate’s filibuster rules, which in recent years have become “a weapon of partisan obstruction and unending delays,” Guffey and Legislative and Political Director Gary Kloepfer wrote in a letter to local presidents.
For 78 years, the NLRB has safeguarded the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain to improve their wages, benefits and workplace environment.
But the panel’s work will be brought to a standstill in August, when the term of one more NLRB member expires — unless GOP lawmakers permit the Senate to fulfill its duty by acting on pending nominations to the board.
“Without an NLRB, there is no agency in place to enforce the rights of workers on the job,” the ALF-CIO warned in a recent alert to union members. “Big corporations are the only ones that benefit from this gridlock.”
Frustrated by Republican attempts to prevent a vote on President Obama’s five nominees to the NLRB and a recent court decision challenging the validity of President Obama’s recess appointments, 201 House Democrats sent Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a letter on July 9 [PDF] urging him to allow a vote on the nominations and end attempts to shut down the board and strip it of its ability to enforce our country’s labor laws.
“The NLRB provides critical protections to American workers and gives businesses much needed labor certainty,” the House lawmakers wrote, adding:
“Each day that the Board sits idle is one in which workers' lawful rights are put at risk. This continued ideological obstructionism is denying hardworking Americans the crucial worker protections that the NLRB provides. We urge you to withdraw this partisan demand and allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to consider presidential appointments, and to do so without continued delay.”
Guffey and Kloepfer called on union leaders in 18 states and the members they represent to urge their Democratic senators to “to restore fairness and honor to the confirmation process for executive and judicial nominations” by supporting reform to the filibuster rule that is being use to block the NLRB from protecting workers rights.