WASHINGTON - January 5 - The AFL-CIO has grave concerns about President Bush’s decision to recess-appoint Peter Kirsanow to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), bypassing the U.S. Senate, where his nomination would have been controversial.
In his writings and during his prior public service, Mr. Kirsanow has taken stands against the minimum wage, affirmative action, prevailing wages, voting rights legislation and other basic protections for workers and citizens, and he has expressed a marked hostility to unions. Appointment of a person with such views to a key worker rights adjudication and enforcement position raises legitimate questions among workers about what to expect now from the NLRB.
It is certainly our hope that Mr. Kirsanow will undertake the responsibilities of this presidential appointment with a firm commitment to fair and neutral enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act. That is the command of this vital statute, and America’s workers deserve nothing less.
There still remains one vacancy on the NLRB, which now has three Republican Members and one Democratic Member. It is extremely important for the final seat to be filled now. When the President nominated Mr. Kirsanow, he also nominated Dennis P. Walsh, a former NLRB Member of unquestioned stature and integrity. The failure to recess-appoint Mr. Walsh seems explicable only as an effort to fashion an NLRB that is both understaffed and severely imbalanced. We urge the President to rectify this situation immediately by a recess appointment of Mr. Walsh.