Friday, February 1, 2008

Jolliff, the AFL-CIO, and NLRB Nominees

Afl As Rick noted in an earlier post, there is doubt whether the new NLRB nominees will be confirmed.  The AFL-CIO has now tied their fate to, among other cases, the subject one of my (somewhat controversial) posts, which described the Sixth Circuit's reversal in the Jolliff case.  According to the statement of AFL-CIO President John Sweeney:

The Bush Administration’s bury-bad-news-on-a-Friday-afternoon nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are a blatant attempt to keep a Labor board with an unbalanced, anti-worker bias, and they would be poisonous to America’s working families. Chairman Robert Battista has been Bush’s point man for his war on workers. President Bush’s renomination of Battista for another 5-year term is a clear effort to stack the deck in favor of Big Business over working people, as is his nomination of Gerald Morales, an attorney who has spent his professional career representing management and has no history defending workers’ rights. . . .

The anti-worker bias of the Bush Board was demonstrated again last week when the Sixth Circuit reversed a decision in an Ohio case, Jolliff v. NLRB. In that decision, the Bush Labor Board’s majority had upheld the firing of three truck drivers who sent a letter to their employer's corporate headquarters complaining about working conditions, arguing that writing the letter was not protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act. The Sixth Circuit disagreed, holding that the Board majority had relied on "misinterpretations of testimony," and a "bizarre reading" of a statement made by one of the fired drivers.

These nominations are an unacceptable continuation of a systematic assault on workers’ rights, likely to result in more decisions like Jolliff. Working men and women of this country deserve a Labor Board that will protect their rights, not roll them back with impunity.

No surprise that the AFL-CIO opposes the nomination, although I find it interesting  (which is also no surprise) that the statement would place so much stress on a reversal of the NLRB.


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