US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander Votes Against President’s Nominee to National Labor Relations Board

Says NLRB needs to be “umpire rather than advocate,” will introduce legislation to restore balance to labor board

Tuesday, October 29, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

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“The labor board needs to be umpire rather than advocate and Mr. Griffin’s background as a union advocate and his work as general counsel for one of the major unions doesn’t do anything to help me believe that he will improve the situation at the NLRB.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 – The senior Republican on the U.S. Senate labor committee today voted against confirmation of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) nominee for General Counsel, Richard Griffin Jr.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “The labor board needs to be umpire rather than advocate and Mr. Griffin’s background as a union advocate and his work as general counsel for one of the major unions doesn’t do anything to help me believe that he will improve the situation at the NLRB.”

Alexander said: “As the senior Republican on the Senate labor committee, I am looking for long-term solutions on a restructuring of the NLRB that will ensure that it is more likely to be an umpire and an adjudicator rather than an advocate, whether the president is a Democrat or a Republican. The Board has become far too politicized under recent administrations.  That didn’t start with the Obama administration, but it’s gotten worse with this administration as it has moved toward the side of union advocacy with such things as ambush elections and micro-unions and undermining state right-to-work laws.”

“Later this fall, I will join other Senators in introducing legislation that will restore balance to the National Labor Relations Board -- a proposal that will retain the rights of workers and employees, but reduce the swing that occurs from administration to administration based upon who is in power.  What we should be striving for is fairness and consistency.”

Alexander said Monday: “There are exceptions, of course, but as a general proposition, I believe a President should have an up-or-down vote on his nominee, so I intend to vote for cloture.  But Mr. Griffin's nomination does not do enough for me to show the promise of moving the Board from advocacy toward umpire and, therefore, I do not intend to vote to confirm his nomination. 

At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee meeting September 18, Alexander voted to oppose moving the nomination of Griffin out of committee and to the Senate floor.

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