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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at a 2010 rally against Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Congressional Republicans are committed to breaking government one step at a time, and it's a given that anything that attacks workers as well as the function of government will vault to the head of the line. So it is with the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB can't function without a three-member quorum. Republicans blocked President Obama's nominations to the board. Obama made recess appointments. Businesses sued and a Republican-appointed court overturned the recess appointments in a staggeringly broad decision. That's being appealed to the Supreme Court. Obama nominated some more people to the NLRB and renominated the recess-appointed people. Republicans look likely to block those nominations. Meanwhile, one current member's term expires in August, which will leave the labor board unable to function.

Do you see the problem? If not, here's what it boils down to:

"A lot of Republicans would assume the board goes dark in August," said one congressional staffer, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely.
"Hope" is probably as accurate a word there as "assume." This is, after all, the board dedicated to enforcing workers' right to organize both in unions and through non-union concerted activity. Republicans don't like that so much. Cases where workers' rights have been violated (often meaning they've been illegally fired) drag on for years, and the uncertainty at the NLRB is making things worse. Republicans do like that.

Union leaders, including Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, are calling on the Senate to keep the NLRB working:

"It's up to the Senate to do the right thing, to act quickly and confirm the president's full slate for the NLRB," Trumka said. "The less the board works, the more America's economy falls out of whack, as we see today with record inequality and a shrinking middle class."
Under the filibuster reform deal cave, though, Republicans can make it impossible for this federal agency to function at all.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed May 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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