March 27, 2010
Harkin Welcomes Appointments to Labor Board, Employment Commission
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today issued the following statement on the recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The nominees were approved by Harkin’s Committee last year.
“Today, President Obama took an important step on behalf of American workers,” said Harkin. “He did so by breaking the stronghold of obstructionism that has held nominations up for months in the Senate.
“The NLRB is on the front lines – protecting workers rights every day,” Harkin continued. “With the Board functioning with only two of its five members, there has been a real harm in enforcement of America’s labor laws. In these tough economic times, these appointments reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental principle that workers have the right to a voice on the job and the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and is a significant step in the right direction.
“I applaud the President for respecting the will of the majority of the Senate and allowing Mr. Becker, along with another highly qualified nominee, Mark Pearce, to take a seat on the Board and start doing their important work.
“And I am pleased that President Obama also appointed a number of qualified nominees for the EEOC. Their commitment to civil rights is crucial as we moved toward a fully functioning commission that will ensure workers are not vulnerable to discrimination.
President Obama made the following appointments to the NLRB and EEOC today:
Craig Becker: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
Craig Becker currently serves as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1978 and received his J.D. in 1981 from Yale Law School where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. For the past 27 years, he has practiced and taught labor law. He was a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law between 1989 and 1994 and has also taught at the University of Chicago and Georgetown Law Schools. He has published numerous articles on labor and employment law in scholarly journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law Review, and has argued labor and employment cases in virtually every federal court of appeals and before the United States Supreme Court.
Mark Pearce: Nominee for Board Member, National Labor Relations Board
Mark Gaston Pearce has been a labor lawyer for his entire career. He is one of the founding partners of the Buffalo, New York law firm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux where he practices union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies including the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board. Pearce in 2008 was appointed by the NYS Governor to serve as a Board Member on the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the NYS Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law. Pearce has taught several courses in the labor studies program at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations Extension. He is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. Prior to 2002, Pearce practiced union side labor law and employment law at Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP. From 1979 to 1994, he was an attorney and District Trial Specialist for the NLRB in Buffalo, NY. Pearce received his J.D. from State University of New York, and his B.A. from Cornell University.
Jacqueline A. Berrien, Nominee for Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Ms. Berrien has served as Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) since September 2004. In that position, she assists with the direction and implementation of LDF’s national legal advocacy and scholarship programs. Ms. Berrien served from 2001 to 2004 as a Program Officer in the Ford Foundation’s Peace and Social Justice Program, where she administered more than $13 million of grants to promote greater political participation by underrepresented groups and remove barriers to civic engagement. Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Ms. Berrien was an Assistant Counsel with LDF and directed the Fund’s voting rights and political participation work. For eight years before that, Ms. Berrien was a staff attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union. Berrien has also taught in trial advocacy programs at Fordham and Harvard law schools and served on the adjunct faculty of New York Law School. She began her legal career clerking for the Honorable U.W. Clemon, the first African-American appointed to the U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. Berrien is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as a General Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Government from Oberlin College and also completed a major in English.
Chai R. Feldblum: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chai Feldblum is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. She also founded the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, a program designed to train students to become legislative lawyers. Feldblum previously served as Legislative Counsel to the AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. In this role, she developed legislation, analyzed policy on various AIDS-related issues, and played a leading role in the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and, later as a law professor, in the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has also worked on advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and has been a leading expert on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. As Co-Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, Feldblum has worked to advance flexible workplaces in a manner that works for employees and employers. Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. from Barnard College.
Victoria A. Lipnic: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Victoria A. Lipnic is of counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Ms. Lipnic was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards from 2002 until 2009. In addition to her work with the Department of Labor, Ms. Lipnic’s experience in Washington, D.C. includes service as Workforce Policy Counsel to the Republican members of the Education and Labor Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before her work for Congress, Ms. Lipnic acted as in-house counsel for labor and employment matters to the U.S. Postal Service for six years. She also served as a special assistant for business liaison to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Malcolm Baldrige. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Allegheny College and a Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University School of Law.
P. David Lopez: Nominee for General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
David Lopez has served at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for 13 years in the field and at headquarters. He began at the EEOC in 1994 as a Special Assistant to Commissioner Casellas. Currently, Mr. Lopez is a Supervisory Trial Attorney with the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. During his tenure, Mr. Lopez has successfully tried several cases on behalf of the EEOC in a wide variety of legal bases. Before joining the Commission, Mr. Lopez served at the Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. from 1991 to 1994. From 1988 to 1991, he was an Associate with Spiegel and McDiarmid. Mr. Lopez received a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1988 and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Arizona State University in 1985, magna cum laude.