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Senate Confirms Five to U.S. Labor Board, Averts Shutdown (Read More…)

By Jim Efstathiou Jr. - Jul 30, 2013
The Senate confirmed five nominees to the U.S. labor board, bringing to an end a stalemate that had threatened to shut down the board as soon as next month.

In separate 54-44 votes today, the Senate confirmed Democrats Nancy Schiffer, a former AFL-CIO associate general counsel, and Kent Hirozawa, chief lawyer for the board’s Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce. Nominees Phil Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, lawyers who represent management in labor disputes, were confirmed by voice vote to fill two Republican seats vacant since December. Pearce was confirmed 59-38 to a second term.

All five seats will be filled for first time since President Barack Obama took office.

The votes to fill the seats “will revitalize our commitment to protect the rights of American employers and employees,” Pearce said in a statement after the vote.

Obama agreed this month to drop the two Democrats he appointed without Senate confirmation in 2012, substituting Hirozawa and Schiffer. The swap helped end a stalemate and allowed confirmation of stalled nominees to other administration posts.

The actions of the five-member board have been in question since January, when a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Obama’s appointments to the board were unconstitutional because the Senate wasn’t in a recess. More than 100 challenges of board decisions are pending in courts citing the appeals court ruling, board spokesman Gregory King said.

Schiffer from 2000 to 2012 was general counsel for the AFL-CIO, the federation led by Richard Trumka that represents 57 labor unions with 12 million members. Schiffer also worked for the United Auto Workers Union.

Law Firms
Hirozawa worked at the labor board from 1984 to 1986 as an attorney in the region that includes New York City. Hirozawa then was a partner in the New York law firm Gladstein, Reif and Meginniss LLP, which “is organized around the principal that workers and their organizations deserve top-quality legal representation just as much as corporations,” according to its website. He returned to the board in 2010 a counsel to Pearce.

Johnson is a lawyer with Arent Fox LLP in Los Angeles who practices management-side labor and employment law. Miscimarra is a partner in the labor and employment group of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, in Chicago.

Miscimarra, invited to testify before a House panel in South Carolina on June 17, 2011, criticized the board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, for issuing a complaint against Boeing Co. (BA) in an unfair labor practice case tied to building a factory in South Carolina, a state where laws forbid collective bargaining agreements that require union membership.

The board on Dec. 9, 2011, withdrew the complaint after Boeing reached an agreement with the International Association of Machinists, which had asked the board to get involved.

Posted by Admin on 07/31 at 08:38 AM

IRS employee union: We don’t want Obamacare (Read More…)


National Taxpayer Employee Union officials are giving members a form letter expressing concern…

IRS employees have a prominent role in Obamacare, but their union wants no part of the law.
National Treasury Employees Union officials are urging members to write their congressional representatives in opposition to receiving coverage through President Obama’s health care law.

The union leaders are providing members with a form letter to send to the congressmen that says “I am very concerned about legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Dave Camp to push federal employees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.”

The NTEU represents 150,000 federal employees overall, including most of the nearly 100,000 IRS workers.

Like most other federal workers, IRS employees currently get their health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which also covers members of Congress.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp offered the bill in response to reports of congressional negotiations that would exempt lawmakers and their staff from Obamacare.

“Camp has long believed every American ought to be exempt from the law, which is why he supports full repeal,” Camp spokeswoman Allie Walkersaid.

“If the Obamacare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress and federal employees,” she also said.

“The NTEU represents Internal Revenue Service employees who have the responsibility to enforce much of the health insurance law, especially in terms of collecting the taxes and distributing subsidies that finance the whole system,”  said Paul Kersey, director of Labor Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute.
“IRS agents will also collect data and apply penalties for those who fail to comply with many of Obamacare’s requirements,”  Kersey said.

Posted by Admin on 07/26 at 07:08 AM