From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
April 2010 Edition
On Feb. 9, the U.S. Senate, in a procedural vote, defeated the nominations of respected labor law attorneys Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB is a critically important federal agency that rules on labor disputes and it has essentially been unable to function for over two years because only two of the five seats on the board have been filled. Former President Bush left seats vacant for months. President Obama offered the nominations of Becker and Pearce in the summer of 2009, but Senate Republicans did everything they could to stall an up-or-down vote on the nominations because they considered the nominees to be too “worker friendly.” Finally, in February, Republicans voted in lock step to sustain a filibuster, thereby preventing any vote on the merits of the nominations. The vote to end the filibuster was 52 in favor, 33 opposed. While the vote to end debate received a majority, it needed 60 votes to be successful.
This vote was a disgrace. For workers to have their disputes with employers resolved expeditiously, we must have a fully functioning NLRB. The refusal of Republicans to allow an up-or-down vote on these nominations is a slap in the face to working people. Republicans did not have the votes to defeat the nominations on the merits, so instead they used a procedural maneuver to prevent these two highly qualified attorneys from serving on the NLRB. A “No” vote on this matter is a direct affront to union and non-union nurses alike.
How did the Massachusetts U.S. Senators vote?
- Sen. John Kerry voted Yes
- Sen. Scott Brown voted No
Source: Senate Roll Call Vote #22, 2/9/10
On March 26 President Obama used his power to make recess appointments to appoint Becker and Pearce to the NLRB. We praise the president’s courage in making these appointments, allowing the NLRB to begin functioning again at least until the end of 2011.