Annapolis attorney Schiffer confirmed for NLRB

WASHINGTON -- An Annapolis lawyer nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Labor Relations Board was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate less than two weeks after she was first named.

Nancy Jean Schiffer, a longtime attorney for the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers, was confirmed on a 54-44 vote, just minutes after she cleared a procedural hurdle on the floor that required 60 votes.

The remarkable speed with which Schiffer and fellow labor attorney Kent Y. Hirozawa were confirmed Tuesday followed an agreement this month that ended a GOP filibuster of several presidential appointments. The agreement also cleared the way for the NLRB to have five Senate-confirmed board members for the first time in a decade.

Schiffer, 63, grew up in a family of dairy farmers in Michigan, studied at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School and began her career in the Detroit office of the National Labor Relations Board.

In recent years, the NLRB has reduced the time requirements for union elections, endorsed the organization of "sub-units" within larger bargaining units and required employers to post rules in the workplace informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The last rule was invalidated by two federal courts of appeals.

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