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Senator Murray Statement on the Nominations of Jocelyn Samuels to the EEOC and Lauren McFerran to the NLRB

Senator Murray supports both Democratic nominees, highlighting their extensive experience and qualifications


Nominations come after years of Republican obstruction has left both agencies unbalanced


Murray: “I’m relieved that these nominations have finally arrived, but let me be perfectly clear—it should never have taken this long and I still expect the White House to nominate a second Democrat to the NLRB immediately…”


Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statements on the announcement of the intent to nominate Jocelyn Samuels to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Lauren McFerran to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Senator Murray also expressed disappointment that the White House failed to nominate a Democrat to fill Mark Pearce’s seat on the NLRB.


“Workers simply cannot afford imbalanced and increasingly partisan worker protection agencies. Workers deserve a fully-functional EEOC and a fair NLRB to ensure that they are not discriminated against at work, paid unequally to their coworkers, or punished for standing together to form a union,” said Senator Murray. “I’m relieved that these nominations have finally arrived, but let me be perfectly clear— it should never have taken this long and I still expect the White House to nominate a second Democrat to the NLRB immediately, a seat which has been vacant for more than a year. There is simply no reason for obstruction when workers’ rights are on the line.”


“For decades, Presidents have nominated, and Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have confirmed, NLRB and EEOC nominees from both parties in order to ensure the agencies can enforce laws necessary to protect workplace rights. After months of Republican obstruction, I’m relieved that we finally have two exceptionally qualified nominees to fill seats at the EEOC and the NLRB.  But a second Democratic nominee to restore the NLRB to a full five-member Board is imperative.” said Senator Murray.  


The EEOC enforces workplace discrimination and harassment laws, protects LGBTQ rights in the workplace, and works to address the gender pay gap. In January 2019, the agency lost a quorum after Senate Republicans stalled a Democratic nomination for more than a year. Despite longstanding practice to confirm minority party nominees to independent agencies, and requests from Senate Democrats to return to this norm, Republicans jammed through Chair Dhillon over Democratic objections in May 2019, and had refused for over a year to nominate and confirm a Democratic nominee.


“After years of Republican obstruction, I’m glad that such a qualified candidate has been nominated to protect our workers’ civil rights at the EEOC. Jocelyn Samuels has spent almost 20 years in the federal government—including at the EEOC itself—working to address discrimination and working to ensure that no one is treated unfairly because of their age, race or disability. I’m confident she will be an excellent Commissioner and I fully support her nomination,” said Senator Murray.


The NLRB is a critical worker protection agency that safeguards workers’ right to join or form a union to fight for higher wages, better benefits, and safer worker conditions. Currently, the Board only has three members – all Republicans appointed by the Trump Administration. Lauren McFerran served her last day on the Board on Monday, December 16. Despite repeated requests from Senator Murray and Senate Democrats, President Trump has until now refused to re-nominate McFerran, instead allowing the seat to remain unfilled. The second empty seat has remained empty for more than a year since the re-nomination of Mark Gaston Pearce was obstructed by Senate Republicans in 2018. The White House has still not nominated anyone to fill his vacated seat.


“Lauren McFerran is a dedicated, highly qualified, and well-respected public servant and I support her re-nomination to the Board. However, workers across the country deserve a fair and full-member NLRB—and I won’t stop fighting to get a second Democrat nominated and confirmed to the Board,” said Senator Murray.