In Their Pockets: Did AFL-CIO Boss Pick Obama’s New NLRB Nominees?


Amid all of the fast deal-making during Tuesday’s Senate fight over the Democrats’ threat to use the “nuclear option” is a small, but important detail of the deal that seems to have missed most of the media: It appears as though AFL-CIO Boss Richard Trumka picked Obama’s new NLRB nominees, retired AFL-CIO associate general counsel Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa, chief counsel to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce

First, as the deal was first announced, there was the story about the Senate deal in the New York Times that originally* stated:

But organized labor would be allowed to recommend their replacement nominees, who would be confirmed before the end of the month.

* Following Barack Obama’s nominations of the two replacements, the New York Times changed its story–literally–to remove that statement.

Second, as Obama selected his replacement nominees, Politico ran a story that states:

As part of the deal to avoid the so-called nuclear option, Republicans agreed not to block the replacement nominees for Richard Griffin and Sharon Block, which were picked Tuesday in consultation with AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.

As Obama wasted no time nominating the NLRB replacements–the Senate deal was made late morning on Tuesday and Obama announced his nominations by early afternoon–it seems a certainty that the nominees were already picked before the deal was reached.

Moreover, if the press reports are to be believed, if Trumka was involved in the picking of the replacements, it was likely done before Tuesday.

This begs the questions: Did Richard Trumka actually pick the NLRB replacement nominees? And, was Barack Obama just following the union boss’ orders?

Related: Senate Republicans Cave: Filibuster ‘Compromise’ Keeps NLRB Firmly Under Union Control


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