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  • Craig Becker: Big Labor’s Big Ally

    ACORN Logo

    It’s hard not to sympathize with organized labor—at least to some extent. After all, during the 2008 elections, unions donated roughly half a billion dollars to Democrats, and so far have few legislative victories to show for their efforts; the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the Respect Act, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act have all stalled in Congress.

    Union leaders were further outraged by last month’s bipartisan Senate vote against Craig Becker, President Obama’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Rather than accept another setback, however, Big Labor and its partisan allies in the White House are going on the offensive: Obama is planning to use a recess appointment to place Becker on the NLRB. Doing so would not only disregard the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of advice and consent, but, according to all 41 Senate Republicans, would “institute far-reaching changes in labor law policy far exceeding the Board’s authority and by-passing the role of Congress”—changes that, coincidentally, happen to mirror organized labor’s stalled legislative agenda.

    The fact that Obama must resort to a recess appointment for Becker is itself a sign of weakness. When Becker was nominated in 2009, Democrats held 60 seats, a filibuster-proof majority. Yet Becker’s confirmation mustered only 52 votes for cloture in February, leaving him in limbo. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D–AR) and Ben Nelson (D–NE) both voted against Becker.

    With the loss of an additional Senate seat to Scott Brown (R-MA) and the growing unlikelihood of Becker’s confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has changed his tune on recess appointments. Reid went to great lengths to block President George W. Bush from making recess appointments by keeping the Senate in pro forma session. Now, however, Reid says, “What alternative do we have?” If organized labor’s agenda is going to be enacted without having to pass through Congress, then the answer is none.

    After all, who needs legislation when an ideologically pro-union recess appointee like Becker can change the nation’s labor laws without public scrutiny or congressional review? As Becker notes, labor “reforms” that failed to pass Congress, such as EFCA, can “be achieved with almost no alteration of the statutory framework” (and all the messy debate and public scrutiny that comes with it) by NLRB rulemaking and case-by-case decisions.

    A review of his writings, especially his article, “Democracy in the Workplace: Union Representation Elections and Federal Labor Law,” reveals that, if appointed to the NLRB, Becker would change America’s labor laws in ways that even the most labor-friendly legislator could only dream of. For instance, think EFCA’s elimination of the secret ballot via “card check” would hurt employees? Becker doesn’t. In fact, he would extend EFCA’s philosophical foundations to an eye-popping extreme: Becker doesn’t only support “automatic certification by ‘non-electoral means’ (e.g. card check) or eliminating the option of ‘no union’ from the ballot—he would leave employers with “no role in union organizing campaigns and in union representation elections.”

    Like EFCA, the RESPECT Act has also failed to garner legislative—let alone public—support. Becker, however, in an article predating the introduction of the RESPECT Act, has signaled that he favors limiting which workers the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) classifies as supervisors. This limiting would be done, of course, not through Congress and a revision of statutory language but through the NLRB.

    Even if Becker’s policies were remotely mainstream, his role as ALF-CIO/SEIU super lawyer, his prior work for Obama, and his associations with ACORN all raise questions about his nomination. Becker is currently associate general counsel for the SEIU, the same position he held when, as part of the Obama transition team, Becker drafted Executive Order 13496, “requiring government contractors and subcontractors to post a Notice of Employees Rights under Federal Labor Laws.” Although Becker claimed he was on “vacation” while working with the Obama transition team, allowing a high-ranking, paid member of organized labor to draft executive orders benefiting (surprise!) organized labor contradicts the President’s pledge to enforce a high standard of government transparency.

    And then there is the ACORN issue. Although Becker rejects charges that he has ever done work for ACORN, he did admit he “worked with and provided advice to” SEIU Local 880 in Chicago. Yes, that SEIU Local 880 in Chicago. In fact, ACORN co-founder Wade Rathke has praised Becker for his “contributions.”

    Given both Mr. Becker’s radical vision for U.S. labor policy, and his close ties to the current Administration, a recess appointment to the NLRB is grossly inappropriate.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Craig Becker: Big Labor’s Big Ally

    1. Mr. Populist says:

      In the second paragraph, you used the phrase "bipartisan senate vote against Craig Becker". I believe that this statement is misleading. It implies that Craig Becker didn't win a majority in the senate. But, he did. He won the majority of the votes. But, he didn't win enough votes to block the republican lead filibuster.

      The fact that a majority vote in the senate can be thwarted by a filibuster is not in keeping with the spirit of democracy. I think that this will end up being a case of "majority rules".

    2. Pingback: Shopfloor » Blog Archive » Resisting Becker Because of the Substance of His Views

    3. stillkickn statesvil says:

      What part of democracy don't you understand…the filibuster is there to protect from mob rule…The mans policies are in direct opposition to rule of law, that is enough to disqualify him, much less giving him power to make law…that is the problem now czars who have standing to 'make' law…rather than congress doing it's job

    4. Mark Saylors Phoenix says:

      Get ready to unionise Homeowners The Unions are back.

      The Solution to the Housing Crisis

      The housing crisis has no government solution. Bankers are standing up the President for meetings now that they have paid back the bailout and have become the main obstacle to solving the problem. Banks are still inflexible on short sales principle reductions but will sell for less than half price of the offers presented at the short sale after an expensive foreclosure and repairs for being vacant. No one has a hammer to create rule changes that will get people back in homes while they are affordable. Don’t hate your neighbor who tried to make a buck blame the bank who gave them the loan and got bailed out and gave big bonuses with our money. The answer is to Unionize Homeowners. The first order of business is a General Strike. Beginning in May no one will pay their mortgage for three months. Mortgage vacation, homeowner’s bonus plan. No one will buy any bank owned properties for three months while negotiations with banks go on until we see foreclosure forgiveness on credit ratings, short sales to present owners without showing hardship or qualifying and allowing past owners to buy back their bank owned home at today’s values and interest with only showing income to qualify. Three months to find a job catch up on bills , buy things you need and take a recession vacation. Every homeowner can join the union and have the union represent them in negotiations . Union members could make loans to other union members and enjoy the interest and a small profit and by pass banks altogether. The banks and investors all over the world who bought these notes need to take the same hit homeowners have taken and send a message that we are in control .Should bankers refuse to negotiate it might be an extended mortgage vacation which everyone will just have to bear. This will jump start the economy and create jobs and relieve the extreme pain that families are enduring and bring hope , no forget hope, it will bring cash that people need right now to the table and bring people back into the housing market ,stop foreclosures that are depressing home values. We are a politically paralyzed nation in an election year but we can all join the United States Housing Union Local 999 and act as one .This country belongs to the people not the banks or the stock market. Home values need to be protected from the banks and government or this happens.

      Join the union and act as one ..

      J.Mark Saylors

    5. Betsy Ross, St. Louis says:

      Imagine appointing someone to the NLRB who is a friend of labor!!! What is the world coming to?

    6. Pingback: Card-Check, Anyone? « writewild

    7. Chukalukabus - Texas says:

      Note to Mr Populist:

      So just how again did the Senate vote… during a filibuster?

      Note to Mr Saylors:

      You just defined communism

    8. J Spencer, Dayton OH says:

      Mr. Saylors. You must be one of the few union members that either still has a job or you’re a retired union worker that hasn’t lost any of your benefits yet. In any case I believe you share a view of the minority. If union membership is so great why has it dropped 39% since 1983. Unions have outlived their usefulness and have played a large part in the destruction of this countries industrial base. If your serious in your blog I feel sorry for you.

    9. George, Miami says:

      Becker doesn’t only support “automatic certification by ‘non-electoral means’ (e.g. card check) or eliminating the option of ‘no union’ from the ballot—he would leave employers with “no role in union organizing campaigns and in union representation elections.”

      EXACTLY. THATS THE POINT OF A UNION!

      Wake up and organize America.

    10. Pingback: Take Note of the Inimical Strategy « 1 Nation Blog

    11. Pingback: Michelle Malkin » Summer of corruption: Obama’s Big Labor ethics loophole

    12. Pingback: Moonlight Swim 26 May 11 | adeliemanchot

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