President Obama’s three nominees to the National Labor Relations Board are headed Wednesday for a Committee vote by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Our observations about the climate in The Hill today:
As card-check has stalled in Congress, business groups’ attention has increasingly turned to the administration, which has taken more action on labor’s priorities, according to Richard Hankins, the head of McKenna Long & Aldridge’s labor and employment practice.
“The shift in labor policy toward labor’s agenda is in these other areas right now,” said Hankins, who has represented employers before the NLRB.
We have previously noted the controversy which Mr. Becker’s nomination has generated. Likewise, as the Committee readies itself for action on the nomination, The Hill notes:
Like business groups, Senate Republicans on the HELP Committee have criticized Becker, much more than the Democrats’ other NLRB nominee, Mark Pearce, a Buffalo, N.Y., lawyer who practices labor law. Since their nomination by Obama in April, Becker has received close to 300 questions from GOP panel members, much more than the roughly 30 sent to Pearce, according to committee aides.
It is highly unusual for an NLRB nominee to receive a public hearing. The last such hearing was in 1993, according to one committee aide.
Hankins said board nominees are typically packaged together for Senate approval and win confirmation after closed-door negotiations between lawmakers. “It is rare to have public hearings because of those dynamics and the opportunity to make a political deal,” Hankins said.
We will report the Committee’s action tomorrow.