To make matters worse, House Republicans are pushing legislation to further cripple the board. Their so-called "Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations" Act (H.R. 1120), despite its name, would create more uncertainty and deprive workers of enforceable rights.
These attacks are causing real consequences in real people's lives.
Marcus Hedger is just one of the many workers who has been denied justice because of the attack on the NLRB. Marcus was the chief steward for the union at Fort Dearborn Co. After the union rejected a company proposal Marcus was fired and told the company was tired of the "union circus." The NLRB ruleed that the firing was illegal and ordered the company to rehire Marcus, but the company has refused because of the Noel Canning decision. Marcus recently lost his home to foreclosure because of the financial distress he faced after being unlawfully fired.
Marcus is hardly alone. Here in West Virginia, in 2004, more than 200 workers at the Cannelton Mine in Smithers were illegally fired for no other reason than they belonged to a union. Because of the Noel Canning decision, the miners can't enforce an order that puts them back to work. In the nearly nine years that the workers have waited for justice, many have lost both their health care and their retirements -- even their homes. Already some have died without seeing justice.
Without a functioning NLRB, these people were fired, not for doing something wrong, but for doing something that's protected by law, by openly talking about forming a union or bargaining for a better life. And yet their lives have been thrown into turmoil, and they have no effective recourse.
Justice delayed is justice denied, and justice to working people is being seriously denied because of the instability being forced upon the NLRB.
President Obama has taken an important step toward restoring stability to our system of labor-management relations by nominating a full, bipartisan package of nominees to the NLRB.
West Virginia's working people can't wait in limbo any longer.
Responsibility for providing needed stability and the functioning NLRB working people need and deserve is now up to the U.S. Senate. Senator Manchin and members of the Senate should act quickly and confirm the president's full slate of nominees.
Trumka is president of the 12 million member AFL-CIO, and Perdue is president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.