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Senate Takes Up Nominee For National Labor Relations Board

Publication Date: 
February 09, 2010
Source: 
Free Speech Radio News
Author: 
Leigh Ann Caldwell

Professor Emeritus William Gould, an expert in labor and employment law, talks to Free Speech Radio News about how union opponents have used the National Labor Relations Board to protect employers:

Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, has dropped his hold on most of President Obama’s 70 nominees. He made the move after receiving the attention from the White House he wanted in regards to two projects for his state, one a multibillion dollar contract with Northrup Grumman. Some of the nominees have been blocked for more than a year now.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to vote today on a controversial nominee to sit on the National Labor Relations Board. The debate over Craig Becker to sit on the board is a proxy debate on the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “Card Check”. The measure, supported by unions and opposed by business, is also stalled in the Senate. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

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William Gould, Professor of Labor Law at Stanford University, was Chair of the NLRB during the Clinton administration. He said union opponents have long used the board to protect employers.

“With all its imperfections, it is better for workers than nothing, and Republicans recognize this and have no incentive to make the agency go forward. Contrarily, the Democrats have every inventive to make the agency go forward,” Gould said.

Gould says the board has often failed to protect workers because of what he calls, the “lethargy” of the board. In other words: inaction. He says workplace complaints can take years before receiving a decision.

“The board has been harmed by political appointees who won‘t make decisions,” Gould said.