Meet the New Boss(es): NLRB Nominees Clear Senate

Well, it’s official: We finally have a fully staffed National Labor Relations Board.

On July 30 the Senate, as part of a deal worked out weeks ago, confirmed the entire slate of the Obama Administration’s nominees to the NLRB.  In return, the Persistent withdrew the two controversial “recess” appointments that were causing the Courts so much constitutional heartburn.

Board members now include NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce (confirmed for a second term on a 59-38 vote); Kent Hirozawa, chief counsel to Pearce; Nancy Schiffer, former lawyer for the United Auto Workers (UAW).  Confirmed on the Republican side were Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson III, hailing from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Arent Fox LLP, respectively.

The Wall Street Journal proclaims that these confirmations erase “doubts about the validity of the board and its future actions,” though admitting that there are still “questions about the validity of roughly 800 board decisions made since the [recess] appointments.”

Whether the validity of the Board and its future decisions is in doubt or not, its ability to function as a neutral arbiter of labor disputes while comprised of union apologists like Schiffer is very much in doubt. Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn), ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), voiced the concerns of many when he said of Obama’s two new appointees:

“My primary concern is the ability of these two [Hirozawa and Schiffer] to set aside their pro-union advocacy past and act as neutral arbiters between employees and employers, so those parties can trust them to fairly adjudicate labor disputes. Will they be judges and not advocates?”

That’s a question many will be asking about the new NLRB, though Workplacechoice doubts we will have to wait long for an answer.

Here’s a breakdown of the vote:

On the Confirmation of Nominee Kent Yoshiho Hirozawa

VOTE: 190

CEI Position: NO

On the Confirmation of Nominee Nancy Jean Schiffer

VOTE: 192

CEI Position: NO

On the Confirmation of Nominee Mark Gaston Pearce

VOTE: 194

CEI Position: NO

For the full score of the NLRB confirmation vote, see our Congressional Scorecard page here.