For First Time in 10 Years, Senate Confirms Five NLRB Nominees

On July 30, 2013, the Senate voted to confirm three Democratic and two Republican nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This confirmation gave the NLRB the first full board in a decade. Senators voted to confirm Kent Hirozawa (D), Nancy Schiffer (D), Philip Miscimarra (R), and Harry Johnson (R). Current board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce (D) was confirmed and will continue in that position. While the Noel Canning challenge to decisions rendered by the NLRB in 2012 is still on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, these confirmations should ensure that decisions going forward are valid and legitimate.  

Hirozawa most recently served as chief counsel to Chairman Pearce and previously was a partner at Gladstein, Reif, and Meginnis in New York, a firm representing unions and workers. Schiffer served as associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO prior to her retirement last year. Miscimarra recently served as a partner in the Chicago office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and Johnson most recently served as a partner in the Los Angeles office of Arent Fox, both are management firms.

Hirozawa and Schiffer were both confirmed on nearly party-line votes of 54-44, with only one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), crossing party lines to approve them. Pearce was confirmed on a 59-38 vote by seven Republicans joining the Democratic voters. Two senators did not vote on Hirozawa or Schiffer, while three senators refrained from voting for Pearce. The two Republican nominees, Johnson and Miscimarra, were approved by voice vote. As part of the agreement, President Obama withdrew the previous nominations of Democratic board members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin and replaced them with Hirozawa and Schiffer. Block and Griffin were serving on the board after being appointed during a recess by President Obama in January 2012. The validity of these appointments, and their subsequent decisions, will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court during its next term.