AFL-CIO fights Anti-union Choices for National Labor Relations Board

A battle is underway between organized labor, Congress, and the White House over the new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.

 A Senate committee recently gave the green light to two anti-union nominees, Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel.  Kaplan’s appointment was subsequently approved in a narrow, partisan Senate vote this week, and Emanuel will likely receive a vote of approval when Congress returns in September.

These nominees will change the five-person NLRB majority from Democratic to Republican.

Both nominees have a consistent record of opposing unions, and the AFL-CIO has been quick to voice its strong opposition to their nominations.

In the coming months, the NLRB is expected to consider new decisions on several important labor issues, and if both Kaplan and Emanuel are confirmed as expected, it could mean the overturning of several key Obama-era decisions.

These include rulings that help smaller groups of workers form unions within larger companies, that make it easier to hold companies responsible for labor violations committed by contractors, and which speed up the process for unionization votes.

Last week, the AFL-CIO sent a letter to the Senate laying out its objections to Kaplan and Emanuel. The letter cited Emanuel’s record of only representing employers — and the anti-union activities of his law firm— as well as his admission at his confirmation hearing that he has never once worked on behalf of a union or a worker.

The NLRB is central to labor’s struggle to protect and empower working people. We must fight to ensure that its five-person board is composed of fair-minded, and impartial members who will strictly enforce existing US labor law, protect collective bargaining, and combat unfair labor practices.