U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted against a bill that would effectively shut down the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent federal agency that works to safeguard employees' rights to organize, prevent and remedy unfair labor practices, and conduct elections for labor union representation.
H.R. 1120 would immediately freeze all activities of the NLRB that require a full quorum, and prevent it from taking actions to enforce, implement, or administer any rule it has adopted since January 4, 2012.
"As someone who has worked as a labor attorney for 30 years, I am appalled by this blatant attack on workers' rights," said Hanabusa. "The National Labor Relations Board plays a vital role in ensuring the rights of working Americans, and has fulfilled these duties for more than seven decades, helping maintain a balance that has helped our economy develop and thrive. We cannot turn back the clock to a time when workers were powerless and labor conditions untenable. It is a matter of respect for working families and an acknowledgment that they deserve our support."
On January 4, 2012, President Obama made recess appointments of three members to the NLRB to restore quorum on the board so it could continue to take official actions. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 3-0 that the appointments were unconstitutional because the Senate was in recess at the time (Noel Canning v. NLRB). The NLRB has said it plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that the decision would have invalidated more than 300 recess appointments made since President Reagan.
"Past administrations have appointed hundreds of nominees to federal agencies and the courts during a recess period within a session, and the President exercised his authority to do so after Senate Republicans vowed to block his nominations."
H.R. 1120 passed by a vote of 219-209 and now heads to the Senate.