March 25th, 2010—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today joined with the Senate Republican caucus in urging Barack Obama to rule out a recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
According to the letter signed by all 41 Republican members of the Senate, “We urge you not to ignore the bipartisan Senate vote by giving Mr. Becker a recess appointment to the NLRB. Taking this action would place a rejected nominee in an appointed term to the NLRB, setting an unfortunate precedent for all future nominations and future administrations.”
Becker’s nomination was blocked in the Senate on February 9th, with Democrat Senators Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson joining 31 other Republicans against the nominee.
“Craig Becker is a radical of the first order, and the Senate was more than justified in blocking his appointment,” Wilson said, citing Becker’s advocacy of making substantial changes to the National Labor Relations Act via the National Labor Relation Board without any Congressional approval.
According to a report published by Americans for Limited Government, “Militant on a Mission,” Becker wrote that “The [National Labor Relations] Board should return to the principle that a union election is not a contest between the employer and the union… Unlike the other proposals, however, it could be achieved with almost no alteration to the statutory framework.”
According to the ALG report, “This unilateral imposition of his views regardless of Congressional approval may apply to Card Check legislation as well.”
Under current law, the National Labor Relations Act, workers have a right to a secret ballot when unions are organized. Unions have lobbied the Obama administration and Congress for a “card check” system in the EFCA that would eliminate the employer’s right to request a secret ballot election, allowing unions to be organized without any ballot.
Becker’s highly controversial views resulted in Senate Republicans’ opposition against the nomination, and in their letter write, “Mr. Becker’s writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the Board’s authority and bypassing the role of Congress.”
The letter continues, “His rejection of traditional notions of democracy in union elections and of an employer’s status as a party to labor representation proceedings has garnered bi-partisan opposition to his nomination. His extensive, highly controversial writings, as well as his legal and scholarly career indicate that he could not be viewed as impartial or objective in deciding cases before this quasi-judicial agency.”
In 1993, according to the ALG report, Becker also wrote that “employers should have no right to raise questions concerning voter eligibility or campaign conduct” and “employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case.” Both views conflict with longstanding interpretations of national labor relations laws.
Becker’s appointment has been described by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as ‘the highest priority for organized labor’ according to an email released by Jeri Thompson. The letter was from an SEIU lobbyist to Democratic members of the U.S. Senate.
“That email showed the SEIU setting the Senate’s schedule for the Becker confirmation,” Wilson explained. “And now, undeterred by the Senate’s rejection of Becker, Barack Obama is prepared to achieve Big Labor’s ‘highest priority’ with a recess appointment.”
The AFL-CIO has already called for such an appointment, as reported by the American Spectator. The Spectator also reports Obama saying, “If the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess.”
Becker could be recess-appointed during the upcoming Easter recess that will begin on March 29th.
Becker has served as counsel for both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO. According to the Wall Street Journal, Becker was also responsible for the drafting of several pro-union executive orders while serving simultaneously on the Barack Obama’s presidential transition team and on the SEIU payroll. One of the orders repealed required federal contractors to post notice that workers do not have to pay for the political expenditures of their unions.
Testifying about the orders, Becker said, “I was asked to provide advice and information concerning a possible executive order of the sort described. I was involved in researching, analyzing, preliminary drafting, and consulting with other members of the Transition team.”
Wilson has said that the executive orders “show that Becker’s agenda is to achieve via executive regulation what cannot be achieved via the legislative process.”
In addition, the ALG report charges that Becker “instituted new policies to force political contributions from union locals in potential violation of the law; was implicated in the scandal surrounding disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; endured major financial scandals; engaged in alleged intimidation of its members; pursued union contracts that would have prevented unionized nursing home workers from reporting elder abuse; gave millions of dollars to the scandal-plagued group ACORN; and hired private detectives to spy on union members.”
Wilson concluded, “Craig Becker’s legacy will be to achieve via executive fiat what cannot be achieved legislatively, and Barack Obama’s recess appointment of him is more than symbolic of that defiance.”
“Militant on a Mission: Report on Craig Becker, Nominee to the National Labor Relations Board,” Americans for Limited Government, January 2010.
ALG Nominee Alert, Craig Becker, August 2009.