Former NLRB chairman withdraws nomination

Robert J. Battista, the former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, has asked President George W. Bush to withdraw his nomination to the board for another term. Batista is joining law firm Littler Mendelson, specializing in management and labor disputes.

Battista and other Republican members of the board came under fire from Congressional Democrats last year over a series of decisions the lawmakers said eroded the rights and protections of union members. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called the board’s GOP majority “the most anti-worker, anti-labor, anti-union board in its history.”

The terms of three of the board’s members expired at the beginning of the year, leaving the board to take the unusual step of declaring a two-person quorum so that the board could issue decisions with only two members. The Senate had yet to act on the nomination of Battista or the other two nominees – Democrat Dennis P. Walsh and Republican Gerard Morales – since Bush nominated them in late January.

White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said yesterday: “It’s unfortunate that the country has lost another devoted public servant because the Senate failed to act on important nominations in a timely manner.”

Reacting to the withdrawal of Battista’s nomination today, Kennedy said: “Mr. Battista’s tenure on the Board made clear that he was not going to stand up for the nation’s workers.”

“I urge the President to send us a new nominee who will reverse the Board’s anti-worker, anti-union, anti-labor bias,” Kennedy said. “In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever for employees to have a Board that protects their rights.”

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