04.11.18

Citing Ethics Scandals and Unprecedented Nature of Jamming Through A Nominee at Critical Labor Board, Murray Votes Against Trump-Appointed, Pro-Business Nominee

In floor speech yesterday, Murray voiced her opposition to NLRB nominee and pro-business lawyer John Ring

 

Ring’s nomination is being jammed through in an unprecedented manner, while current Trump-appointed Board members’ integrity is clouded by conflicts of interest scandals

 

Senator Murray also highlighted Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into the year it takes women on average to earn what their male colleagues made in 2017

 

Murray: “Families increasingly rely on women’s wages to help make ends meet to buy groceries, pay the bills, and pay for childcare”

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today voted against the nomination of John Ring for the National Labor Relations Board. In a floor speech yesterday, Senator Murray also spoke about the unprecedented nature in which John Ring’s nomination is being jammed through the Senate—especially as so many other nominees have been waiting six months to be confirmed. Murray noted:

 

“I believe it is because corporate special interests are putting immense pressure on my colleagues across the aisle to confirm someone who will advocate for corporations—no matter the cost to workers. And right now, the Board’s credibility is damaged because another Trump-appointed Board Member William Emanuel—chose to cast aside his ethics pledge—and commitment to me by participating in Board actions that would directly benefit his former employer.”

 

In her speech, Senator Murray also marked Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into the year it takes women on average to earn what their male colleagues made in 2017. Senator Murray noted that the wage gap is even larger for women of color, and urged Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.  

 

Key excerpts of Ranking Member Murray’s floor speech:

 

“It is clear to me why corporations and special interests are trying to get Mr. Ring confirmed so quickly. Mr. Ring has spent his career as a corporate lawyer representing the interests of companies—not workers. He has opposed the Board’s reforms that stop companies from unnecessarily delaying union elections. And he has encouraged the Board to undermine long-established rights—including the right for workers to have coworker representation in disciplinary interviews. I find it difficult to believe he will be the advocate workers so desperately need on the Board right now. “

 

“M. President, this Administration has spent more than a year undermining worker rights and making it easier for corporations to take advantage of them. And the Board under Republican control has been leading that charge—by ignoring longstanding practices in a rush to overturn precedents that protect workers. At a time when corporations and the richest among us are getting richer—and working families are left behind—it is critical the Board is independent and able to advocate for workers. Now is not the time to break precedent and vote on a nominee without the Democratic pair. For all of these reasons—I will be voting no on this nominee.”

 

“In the 21st century—there is absolutely no excuse for the reality that women are still being paid less than men for the same work. It’s wrong—it’s harmful—and it’s got to change. And what’s even more unacceptable is that for women of color—the pay gap is even worse. African American women working full-time only make 63 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make. And Latinas on average earn 54 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make.”

 

Full text of Ranking Member Murray’s floor speech:

 

“Thank you M. President.

 

“I come to the floor today for two reasons.

 

“Before discussing the nomination at hand—John Ring for the National Labor Relations Board, I want to take a few minutes to mark equal pay day.

 

“It takes women more than three additional months—up until today—to make what their male colleagues made in 2017.

 

“In the 21st century—there is absolutely no excuse for the reality that women are still being paid less than men for the same work.

 

“It’s wrong—it’s harmful—and it’s got to change.

 

“And what’s even more unacceptable is that for women of color—the pay gap is even worse.

 

“African American women working full-time only make 63 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make.

 

“And Latinas on average earn 54 cents for every dollar their white male colleagues make.

 

“The wage gap doesn’t just hurt women—it hurts families and the economy.

 

“Women are the sole or co-breadwinner in two thirds of families with children.

 

“Families increasingly rely on women’s wages to help make ends meet to buy groceries, pay the bills, and pay for childcare.

 

“So in order to help women, and all working families, get ahead—I am proud to sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act.

 

“The Paycheck Fairness Act provides transparency and support for women who are being paid less than their male colleagues…

 

“It protects women from retaliation for discussing salary information with co-workers…

 

“Allows women to join together in class-action lawsuits…

 

“And it prohibits employers from seeking salary history—so the cycle of pay discrimination cannot continue. 

 

“As President Trump continues to roll back worker protections and prioritize corporate profits over working families’ wages…

 

“It’s time for Congress to act—and to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, because workers deserve to be paid fairly—end of story—no matter their gender.

 

“Now, M. President—I’d like to turn to the nomination before the Senate today—the nomination of John Ring for the National Labor Relations Board.

 

“I first must object to the unprecedented nature in which we are jamming this nominee through.

 

“M. President, it is standard practice that Board nominees are always confirmed in pairs—usually one Democrat and one Republican.

 

“We do this to keep the Board as fair and balanced as possible—in hopes that workers have a fair hearing when corporations violate their rights or bargain in bad faith.

 

“Because the Board is the only place workers can turn to enforce their rights under the National Labor Relations Act—workers cannot sue in court. 

 

“So, M. President, I must ask… why is this nominee being forced through without also filling the Democratic seat about to be vacated?

 

“Especially at a time when so many other nominees have been waiting significantly longer—some more than six months—to be confirmed?

 

“M. President—I believe it is because corporate special interests are putting immense pressure on my colleagues across the aisle to confirm someone who will advocate for corporations—no matter the cost to workers.

 

“And right now—the Board’s credibility is damaged because another Trump-appointed Board Member William Emanuel—chose to cast aside his ethics pledge—and commitment to me by participating in Board actions that would directly benefit his former employer.

 

“Because of these actions by Mr. Emanuel, the Board’s independent watchdog opened an investigation…

 

“And because there was a clear conflict of interest—the Board was forced to vacate this decision that overruled Obama-era worker protections.

 

“So with a cloud of ethics controversies surrounding current Board members…

 

“It is clear to me why corporations and special interests are trying to get Mr. Ring confirmed so quickly.

 

“Mr. Ring has spent his career as a corporate lawyer representing the interests of companies—not workers.

 

“He has opposed the Board’s reforms that stop companies from unnecessarily delaying union elections.

 

“And he has encouraged the Board to undermine long-established rights—including the right for workers to have coworker representation in disciplinary interviews.

 

“I find it difficult to believe he will be the advocate workers so desperately need on the Board right now.

 

“M. President, this Administration has spent more than a year undermining worker rights and making it easier for corporations to take advantage of them.

 

“And the Board under Republican control has been leading that charge—by ignoring longstanding practices in a rush to overturn precedents that protect workers.

 

“At a time when corporations and the richest among us are getting richer—and working families are left behind—it is critical the Board is independent and able to advocate for workers.

 

“Now is not the time to break precedent and vote on a nominee without the Democratic pair.

 

“For all of these reasons—I will be voting no on this nominee.

 

“And I urge my colleagues to do the same.

 

“Thank you, M. President, I yield the floor.”

 

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