A Senate committee cleared all five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, sending them to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.
"Workers can't afford to wait any longer," said CWA President Larry Cohen. "For 80 million Americans in the private sector, it's all they have. The NLRB is the only agency that safeguards employees' right to organize and negotiate, and it's the only agency that can stop and remedy injustices in the workplace. Partisan warfare has obscured what's really at stake here."
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, the two Republicans. Current board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce received approval from six of the 10 Republican senators. Meanwhile, only Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats to approve the current Democratic members Richard Griffin and Sharon Block.
Sen. Tom Harkin called the vote "a step in the right direction."
"While it is disappointing that some of my Republican colleagues refused to support the entire package of nominees in today's Committee vote, I hope that as we move to the floor we can put politics aside and do our duty to consider all of these nominees fairly on their own merits," he said in a statement. "This is an exceptionally well-qualified package of nominees, and they all deserve to be swiftly confirmed."
Yesterday, during a debate on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rebuffed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's warning that he better not to change the Senate rules on nominations.
"Senator McConnell defended the status quo of gridlock and obstruction in Washington, saying 'there is no real problem here.' I could not disagree more. Senator McConnell may choose to ignore it, but the problem of gridlock in Washington is real and it needs to be fixed," Reid said. "Despite the agreement we reached in January, Republican obstruction on nominees continues unabated. I want to make the Senate work again."