Policy: Labor

AFL-CIO applauds Harry Reid for filibuster showdown win

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Harry Reid,Analysis,Filibuster,AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka thanked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for securing a deal Tuesday that will result in votes for five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

“[A] confirmed National Labor Relations Board will provide millions of workers with real protection of their rights to organize and bargain with their employers,” Trumka said in a statement emailed to reporters Wednesday.

Republicans had objected to two of the five nominees, Richard Griffin and Sharon Block, because Obama had earlier recess appointed them. A court later found their nominations unconstitutional.

The deal Tuesday will have Block and Griffin drop out and be replaced by other picks by President Obama. That would give the board a 3-2 Democratic majority — exactly what the Democrats and Big Labor wanted.

Labor leaders had pushed Reid hard to end the filibuster in order to get the NLRB nominees through the Senate. The board’s lack of a functioning quorum was stymying things like workplace organizing.

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen was particularly aggressive, saying last month that Reid would bear “lots” of the blame if he did not break Senate gridlock. In his statement, Trumka thanked CWA “for their strong leadership.”

“America’s working families applaud Senator Reid for following through on his promise to provide an up or down vote on President Obama’s nominees,” Trumka said.

Trumka’s statement also thanked President Obama for his nominations of  Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary and Richard Cordray for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director. Republicans announced last week they lacked the votes to filibuster either one.

“The labor movement and our allies will continue to hold our leaders accountable to maintain a functioning government that works for the American people. We have full confidence in the leadership of Senator Reid to continue to do whatever it takes,” Trumka said.

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