Senate Confirms Ring for Labor Board

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By Tyrone Richardson and Hassan A. Kanu

The Senate April 11 confirmed John Ring as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, shifting the panel to Republican control.

The chamber voted 50-48 along party lines for Ring’s confirmation.

Ring, a former management-side attorney at Morgan Lewis, swings the five-member labor board back to a 3-2 GOP majority. Republicans will likely use that majority to continue rolling back a broad range of what they see as labor-friendly initiatives and decisions issued during President Barack Obama’s administration.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has touted Ring as a “well-qualified nominee,” echoing similar praises from other Republicans on the panel.

Committee Democrats, however, have voiced reluctance to support Ring, questioning his allegiance to corporations over issues of worker rights, as well as his former firm’s list of clients that could present a conflict-of-interest in some cases.

“I’m just not convinced that he’s going to have an open mind and I think he’s pretty firmly ensconced on the more conservative side of the ledger on these issues,“ HELP member Sen. Chris Murphy (R-Conn.) told Bloomberg Law late April 10. “I want people who are going to give workers a fair shot.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) also took issue with the process of confirming Ring, saying the senate Republicans should’ve waited to confirm Ring along with a Democrat, per the chamber’s custom when confirming labor board members. Democratic member Mark Pearce’s term will end in August.

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