President Joe Biden named two nominees for positions with the federal labor office that rules on union contract disputes and has a backlog unfair labor practice cases.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority nominees announced Aug. 4 have decades of employment law and federal labor experience, garnering praise from union leaders.

Susan Tsui Grundmann, Biden’s candidate to become a member of the FLRA, is executive director of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights and served at the chairman of the Merit System Protections Board from 2009 to 2017.

She would replace James T. Abbott, whose FLRA term expired July 1.

“Once confirmed, Grundmann will restore the FLRA’s vital role as a fair, neutral arbiter of labor-management disputes in the federal sector,” National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said in a statement.

“Grundmann has extensive experience in labor-management relations, including more than 20 years litigating and advising clients on labor and employment matters, which will serve her well as the FLRA handles issues involving the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute.”

Biden selected Kurt Rumsfeld, the office’s assistant general counsel for the last eight years, to take up the general counsel role, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting unfair labor practices. With the position left mostly vacant since 2017, unresolved cases have piled up.

“We are excited to see President Biden announce such qualified picks to help lead this important agency,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley in a statement.

“Kurt Rumsfeld’s previous work with the authority will ensure he can hit the ground running as he assumes the office of general counsel.”

Federal employee unions have pressed the Biden administration to select a permanent counsel for some time, after the position fell vacant about four years ago and only received an acting official early this year, when Biden tapped Charlotte Dye, a deputy general counsel, to temporarily fill the role.

Both nominees require Senate confirmation. Grundmann was easily confirmed by voice vote for her role on the MSPB in 2009, and this is the first nomination for Rumsfeld for a Senate-confirmed position.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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