Notes from Today’s Labor Hearings

  • July 13, 2017

Notes from Today’s Labor Hearings

Via Politico Pro

National Labor Relations Board Hearing

William Emanuel, one of President Trump’s nominees for the NLRB, said at his confirmation hearing today that the National Labor Relations Act “certainly” seeks to foster unionization.

“Certainly that is one of the principal purposes of the National Labor Relations Act,” Emanuel told the Senate HELP Committee.

“This is a right that employees have,” he said. “And if employees choose to engage in collective bargaining through a labor organization — if that happens then the employer has to respect that right.”

Emanuel — along with NLRB nominee Marvin Kaplan and deputy Labor secretary nominee Patrick Pizzella — all said they agreed with the act, whose preamble declares it “the policy of the United States” to encourage “the practice and procedure of collective bargaining.”

Deputy Labor Secretary Hearing

Deputy Labor Secretary nominee told Congress today he was not aware of worker abuses in the Northern Mariana Islands as he lobbied to shield the territory from federal labor laws in the 1990s.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) read off a list of documented abuses of women workers on the islands — including forced abortion, prostitution and beatings — while Pizzella was lobbying against federal minimum wage protections there.

“Were you aware of these horrible conditions while you lobbied against minimum wage protections for workers?” Franken asked.

“I was not aware of any such thing,” Pizzella said.

Pizzella sidestepped another question from Franken on whether he and his associates — including Jack Abramoff, who later went to prison — lobbied against a bill from then-Sen. Frank Murkowski to stop worker abuses in the Marianas.

“I don’t remember if we actually lobbied against that legislation,” Pizzella said. “But I’d assume we did.”

Franken pressed him further, asking: “Would it bother you to know you lobbied against legislation for thousands of workers that were being abused?”

“Of course it would,” Pizzella said, adding a caveat: “What you mentioned were allegations made.”