12.17.19

Senator Murray Slams Republican Obstruction of NLRB Nominees As Board Loses Last Remaining Democrat

McFerran’s exit leaves the historically bipartisan board with three Republicans and two empty Democratic seats

  

Murray: “I’m deeply disappointed by the inaction of the Republicans and I implore them to return to normal process. The NLRB must not become a playing field for partisan politics.”

 

**WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FULL REMARKS HERE***

 

Washington D.C.—Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, criticized Republicans for their continued refusal to fill Democratic seats on National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as the worker protection agency loses its sole remaining Democrat, Lauren McFerran. McFerran served her last day on the Board on Monday, December 16. Despite repeated requests from Senate Democrats, President Trump has refused to re-nominate McFerran, instead allowing the seat to remain unfilled.

 

For decades, Presidents have nominated and the Senate has confirmed NLRB nominees from both parties. But this will be the second empty Democratic seat on the Board, following the stalled re-nomination of Mark Gaston Pearce by Senate Republicans in 2018. In remarks on the Senate floor delivered today, Senator Murray noted that, “for the first time in the history of the board, we are left with zero Democratic members on the board due to Republican inaction.”

 

“I’m deeply disappointed by the inaction of the Republicans and I implore them to return to normal process,” said Senator Murray. “The NLRB must be not become a playing field for partisan politics. We must end this Republican obstructionism and fill these seats without any further delay.”

 

Murray also noted that McFerrran’s untimely exit comes as Republican NLRB members are mired in allegations of ethics violations and engaged in an unprecedented break from rulemaking standards.

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s prepared remarks below:

 

Thank you M. President. I’ve come before you to address the current status of the National Labor Relations Board and in particular how the rights of workers are being undermined by Republican obstructionism.”

 

“For decades, Presidents have nominated, and Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have confirmed, NLRB nominees from both parties in order to ensure the agency can enforce laws necessary to protect workers’ rights. “

 

“Yet, for the first time in the history of the Board, we are left with ZERO Democratic members on the board due to Republican inaction. To say this is highly problematic is an understatement.”

 

“We will be left with zero Democrats, because yesterday, Lauren McFerran’s term has expired. Lauren McFerran is a dedicated, highly-qualified, and well respected public servant.”

 

“Despite the repeated requests my colleagues and I have sent to the White House, President Trump refuses to re-nominate Ms. McFerran. And last year, Republicans in the Senate stalled the re-nomination of another exceptionally qualified nominee to the NLRB, Mark Gaston Pearce, by refusing to hold a vote—instead, allowing the seat to remain empty.”

 

“So now, workers are confronted with a Board made up solely of three Republicans and ZERO Democrats to serve on this historically bipartisan agency. This is simply unacceptable.”

 

“Listen, I get it—board members, nominations, Washington infighting—to many folks, this may seem like “inside-baseball. But let me explain what this could mean for everyday people.”


“When workers stand together to form a union, the NLRB ensures the election is fair. If a worker is fired or unfairly punished because they want to join or form a union, the NLRB is tasked with protecting their rights.”

 

“And if companies refuse to negotiate fairly with unions fighting for higher wages, better benefits, and safer worker conditions, it is the NLRB that safeguards the labor rights that have helped build our country’s middle class.”

 

“Quite frankly, the NLRB is a critical worker protections agency and workers across the country will suffer because of the Republicans’ dereliction of duty.”

 

“Especially as the Republican NLRB members are mired in allegations of ethics issues, are pursuing an aggressive rulemaking agenda that will  gut workers’ rights, and are undermining efforts to enforce protections for workers, it is clear that workers cannot afford an imbalanced and increasingly partisan NLRB.”

 

“And this is just the latest example of Republicans standing in the way of Democratic nominees. I am still waiting for a Democratic nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after Republicans blocked the re-nomination of Chai Feldblum last year.”

 

“I’m deeply disappointed by the inaction of the Republicans and I implore them to return to normal process. The NLRB must not become a playing field for partisan politics. We must end this Republican obstructionism and fill these seats without any further delay.”

 

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

 

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