May 15, 2013

Leaders Urge Senate to Confirm NLRB Nominees

Letters signed by nearly 400 professors and 125 leaders nationwide argues for swift action on NLRB to ensure workplace rights

Ori Korin, (202) 822-2127 x126

Washington, D.C. – In two official letters released today, a diverse, prominent chorus of voices called for senators to swiftly confirm the full package of nominees submitted by President Obama for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a step necessary to free the agency from its current limbo status and allow it to function in its role protecting workers’ rights in the United States.

The first letter, signed by nearly 400 notable professors from colleges and universities across the country, states:

“In order for our labor laws to work effectively, it is essential that the agency responsible for enforcing these laws be operational. Current and future vacancies on the NLRB, together with the uncertainty created by the D.C. Circuit’s recent Noel Canning decision, make it imperative that the Senate move quickly to consider the package of nominees.”

The scholars underscoring the need for a functional NLRB include: Catherine Fisk, Professor of Law, University of California at Irvine; Thomas Kochan, Professor of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; John Logan, Associate Professor of Labor & Employment, San Francisco State University; Nancy MacLean, Professor of History, Duke University; Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York; and Dorian Warren, Associate Professor of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University.

To view the academic letter and full list of signatures, click here.

The National Workers’ Rights Board – a group of diverse national and local leaders representing faith, civil rights, social justice, human rights, and academic communities – also released a letter calling for Senate action on the NLRB to protect the vital rights of employees to collectively improve their job standards. The letter, signed by noted authors Barbara Ehrenreich, Dave Zirin, and Bill Fletcher Jr., National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-jen Poo, President of the Alliance for Justice Nan Aron, former U.S. Congressman and House Minority Whip David Bonior, and Center for Community Change (CCC) Director Deepak Bhargava, states:

“The strength of our democracy is tied to our nation’s ability to uphold and uplift workers’ rights. America’s workers deserve much more than the status quo to fully protect their rights on the job. Yet they do not deserve to have their basic workplace rights invalidated due to Congressional inaction.”

To view the National Workers’ Rights Board letter and full list of signatures, click here.

On May 16, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions will hold the first hearing on the pending NLRB nominations. At present, two of the five seats on the Board are vacant and the term of one of the three current Board members, Chairman Pearce, will expire this August. Without action by the Senate, the Board will soon be left without the quorum of at least three members that is required for it to function, leaving approximately 350 cases and all of the appeals generated by the Noel Canning decision in flux.

The package of five nominees includes three current members of the Board – Chairman Mark Pearce and Members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin – and two nominees who have not served previously, attorneys Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, who have represented management in disputes with employees.

For interview requests with any of the scholars or leaders who signed the letters, please contact Ori Korin at

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