Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on the Senate confirmation of five members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Senator Casey has spoken out on the Senate floor and in committee hearings about the need to confirm a full slate of NLRB nominees to avoid losing a functioning board.
“For 78 years, the NLRB has promoted and defended rights of workers and employers.
Protecting those rights, guaranteed to Americans by section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, is the principal work of the NLRB.
Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression. The NLRA legitimized and gave workers the right to join unions, it encouraged and promoted collective bargaining as the way to set wages and settle disputes over working conditions, and it led to a surge in union membership and representation. It is worth remembering why Congress passed the Act.
To quote Section 1 of the Act: ‘The inequality of bargaining power between employees . . . and employers . . . substantially burdens and affects the flow of commerce, and tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners . . . .’
Every week, year in and year out, employees call upon the NLRB to defend their right to join a union or to refrain from joining one, and the NLRB issues thousands of decisions each year that put people back to work and restore lost wages after they have been unfairly fired, or that prohibit employers interfering with or preventing employees from exercising their right to associate with each other for mutual aid and protection.
At its heart, this is what the NLRA is about: ensuring workers have a voice and the right to join together to improve their work life. In 2012 alone, the NLRB recovered over $44,000,000 in back pay, penalties, and fees for employees who had been illegally disciplined or otherwise illegally mistreated.
I am pleased that the Senate has finally confirmed the president’s package of five well- qualified nominees to the NLRB. I look forward to a strong and functionary board that will work to ensure the rights of employees and employers are protected and that all workers can do their jobs in a safe and fair environment.