06.03.20

Senator Murray Votes NO on Trump Nominees for Worker Protection Agencies, Demands Administration Finally Fill Empty Democratic Seat on the NLRB

Committee also advances nominations of Democratic nominees Lauren McFerran and Jocelyn Samuels to the NLRB and EEOC

 

Senator Murray: “As workers across the country face unprecedented struggles in light of the coronavirus crisis, these worker protection agencies are more important than ever before.

 

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, voted against advancing three Trump Administration nominees for critical worker protection agencies who have records of fighting against workers. At a HELP Committee nominations markup held today, Senator Murray voted against the nomination of Marvin Kaplan to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Andrea Lucas to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Julie Hocker to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy. The committee also advanced by voice vote the nominations of Democratic nominees Lauren McFerran and Jocelyn Samuels to the NLRB and EEOC, respectively.

 

In her opening remarks, Senator Murray noted that the Trump Administration nominees have records of fighting against workers or won’t commit to advancing the goals of the agencies and offices that they could lead. Senator Murray also slammed Republican obstruction of Democratic seats on the NLRB and EEOC, specifically pushing for the White House to finally nominate Jennifer Abruzzo to fill a Democratic seat on the NLRB that has been empty for more than a year.  

 

“As workers across the country face unprecedented struggles in light of the coronavirus crisis, these worker protection agencies are more important than ever before. So we must consider carefully whether each nominee is truly fighting for workers’ rights and protections,” said Senator Murray.

 

“This blatant disregard for longstanding deference to the minority party is a significant departure from the customs of this institution and this Committee—a Committee as you know, Mr. Chairman, which has a long-standing tradition of working together on nominees and legislation,” continued Senator Murray. “It’s completely unacceptable that we do not have Jennifer Abruzzo’s nomination for the NLRB to consider today as well … and I am not done pushing for her nomination.”

 

Senator Murray’s full remarks are below.

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and as always, thank you to our Committee staff who worked so hard to make it possible for this markup to be safe and socially distant.

 

“Before we start, I want to say, to people in my home state of Washington and across the nation who are hurting right now—I see your pain and share with all of you the grief, sorrow, anger, and frustration that is so clearly a product of our country’s long history of racial injustice.

 

“The federal government should investigate the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery to ensure there is accountability and justice.

 

“But we know these protests are not only about them—but about systemic racism that has been with us for far too long and is not changing nearly fast enough.

 

“As I shared with my staff earlier this week, as an elected leader, I know I must step up and amplify these voices.

 

“More importantly, I know that I—and all of us fortunate enough to serve in the Senate—need to do more to contribute to and prioritize anti-racist work here in Congress.

 

“Our country owes grieving families and communities change that is as long overdue as our country is old.

 

“The reforms our country needs are not easy, or quick, work—but I am committed to this fight for the long-haul, and I know I’m not the only elected leader like me who feels this way. 

 

“So I’m going to keep listening to and supporting those who have been at the forefront of this work, as well as learning and acting on what I can do to help combat racism in our policies, laws, systems, and institutions.

 

“Now, in this markup we will be considering nominees for two critical worker protection agencies—the National Labor Relations Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

“We will also be considering the nominee for another critically important office, the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. 

 

“First, I would like to speak about the NLRB and EEOC nominees. As workers across the country face unprecedented struggles in light of the coronavirus crisis, these worker protection agencies are more important than ever before.

 

“So we must consider carefully whether each nominee is truly fighting for workers’ rights and protections.

 

“In the case of Joceyln Samuels—a nominee for EEOC Commissioner—and Lauren McFerran—a nominee for NLRB Board Member—I am confident that they will. 

 

“Both of these nominees are dedicated, highly qualified, and well-respected public servants, with proven track records of fighting for workers—not corporations.”

 

“I’m proud to vote to advance both nominees. But it should never have taken this long to receive their nominations. And the Trump Administration is continuing to refuse to fill a Democratic seat on the NLRB.

 

“In the past three years, we have seen significant delays by the White House in putting forward Democratic nominees—going back to Mark Pearce for the NLRB in 2018. 

 

“We have seen Republican obstruction of highly-qualified NLRB and EEOC nominees in the Senate.  As a result, Democratic seats on these critical boards have each been left vacant for more than a year.

 

“This blatant disregard for longstanding deference to the minority party is a significant departure from the customs of this institution and this Committee—a Committee as you know, Mr. Chairman, which has a long-standing tradition of working together on nominees and legislation. 

 

“It’s completely unacceptable that we do not have Jennifer Abruzzo’s nomination for the NLRB to consider today as well. The NLRB is tasked with enforcing labor laws that have helped build and protect our country’s workforce. I am not done pushing for her nomination.

 

“Meanwhile, the Trump Administration moved forward with the nominations of two individuals who have no demonstrated commitment to fighting to protect workers.

 

“Marvin Kaplan has been re-nominated to continue serving on the NLRB. Instead of fighting to ensure that workers can join together to form a union—Mr. Kaplan has previously helped draft legislation to strip workers of their rights and overturn key NLRB rulings.

 

“And, during his time on the NLRB during the Trump Administration, he has sided with corporations again and again in decisions that hurt workers’ right to join a union.

 

“Andrea Lucas—a nominee to serve as an EEOC Commissioner—has a career of fighting to protect corporations, instead protecting protect workers from harassment and discrimination.

 

“I will be voting against their nominations to the NLRB and EEOC.

 

“I also want to discuss the nomination for another critically important office—the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. 

 

“The coronavirus crisis has disproportionately impacted people with disabilities, who face heightened health risks and additional challenges when it comes to accessing the supports they depend on.

 

“But unfortunately, President Trump’s nominee to lead this office, Julie Hocker, has refused to take a stance on whether she will work to advance critical policies that directly impact employment for people with disabilities.

 

“Workers with disabilities deserve equitable, competitive pay at jobs where they can work alongside members of their community—but this nominee won’t commit to those basic principles.

 

“That is deeply concerning, especially in light of the unique challenges people with disabilities are experiencing right now.

 

“I will also be voting against this nominee today.

 

“I urge my colleagues to consider all these nominees carefully and—most importantly—consider how the decisions made by these nominees will affect workers, including workers with disabilities, across the country.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

 

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