fresh voices from the front lines of change







The Senate is getting ready to vote on five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They should confirm the whole package and get the NLRB functioning again. They are also voting on several other nominees from judges to cabinet positions. If Republicans filibuster to obstruct these, it is time to fix the filibuster. We just had an election and the results were decisive. Republicans must stop obstructing democracy.

A “Full Package” Of NLRB Nominees

President Obama has nominated 5 people to serve on the NLRB. Two of these are “management side” (i.e. anti-union) Republicans. Labor and other groups are urging the Senate to confirm all of these nominees as a “package” so the NLRB can get back to work. Working people need and deserve a functioning NLRB, and confirmation of the “full package” of nominees will provide that stability

400 professors and 125 leaders nationwide have signed letters urging the Senate to confirm these nominees and get the NLRB functioning.

More than two dozen women’s organizations have also written urging confirmation of the nominees, (from AFL-CIO blog),

The National Labor Relations Board has long worked to ensure the rights of employees to bargain collectively, if they choose to do so. This work is particularly meaningful for women… Unions have always been important to advancing women’s economic security. Union wage and benefit structures are typically more transparent than those for non-union workplaces, which in turn helps to decrease wage discrimination… working families need a functioning, fully-staffed National Labor Relations Board to protect their right to an important strategy in the fight for economic security: collective bargaining.

NLRB Not Functioning

Republican Senators have been obstructing the NLRB from functioning, on purpose, so companies can fire union organizers, etc. The make more money by keeping unions out so wages are low, benefits are minimal-to-none, and unemployment high. But this is bad for 99% of us and bad for the economy. The country needs these nominees confirmed so we can start getting back to normal.

Watch this video of Marcus Hedger describing how he was treated and then illegally fired for union activities. The NLRB ruled that he should get his job back and the company just ignored that, saying the NLRB doesn’t have enough Board members to enforce the rules. So he has lost his house. The company broke the law, then ignored the NLRB’s ruling, and this is happening all across the country — more than 22,000 workers — while Republicans keep the NLRB from functioning.


Other Nominees

The Senate is also awaiting confirmation of other nominees, like Thomas Perez to head the Department of Labor and Gina McCarthy to the Environmental Protection Agency. Republicans have already filibustered Caitlin J. Halligan, keeping her from becoming a federal appeals court judge. Next week the Senate will vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Republicans have pledged to obstruct any nominee to head up that agency.)

It is essential that these nominees are confirmed so the government can function for We the People. The obstruction has to stop.

Obstruction And Filibuster

The Senate is dysfunctional and needs reform. Republicans are obstructing everything as a strategy to turn Americans against President Obama and against government itself. As of the end of the last Congressional session there were had been more than 380 filibusters. Now there have been several more.

We just had a decisive election but nothing is moving forward. This is intentional obstruction of democracy. It is time to fix the Senate.

Fix The Senate Now is a coalition of organizations asking that Senate rules be changed to make it more difficult to filibuster. Specifically, restore the rule to make them talk. If they feel the need to filibuster — and filibusters are sometimes the right thing to do — they should do what the public expects and stand there and talk, slowing the process and allowing the public to rally and show their approval or disapproval of what is going on. That is how democracy should function.

What You Can Do

Visit Fix The Senate Now (also on Facebook).

The AFL-CIO is asking people to “text NLRB to 235246 and ask the Senate to confirm the board nominations now. (Standard message and data rates may apply.) You also may call your senators at 1-888-264-6154.” Also click this to “Tell your senators to confirm President Obama’s NLRB nominations to make sure workers’ rights are protected.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and is uring the Senate to “Give Us 5” — “even if that means changing the Senate rules on nominations to break through the gridlock.” See their fact sheet on this.


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