This week Congress has adjourned for Easter recess. Obama has used this opportunity to make 15 presidential appointments that were blocked by Senate Republicans. This maneuver is part of the politics of Washington and was also used by President Bush. Obama’s actions, however, are notable because one of the appointments installed SEIU lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It is generally acknowledged that attorney Becker has radical pro-union views. His views are so radical, in fact, that all 41 Senate Republicans and some Senate Democrats voted against the nomination last month which left the president eight votes short of the 60 needed. Recently, these same 41 Senate Republicans sent a letter to the president specifically asking that Becker not be appointed during the recess. The US Chamber of Commerce agrees. Randel Jackson, the Chamber’ s senior vice president, issued the following statement:
“This is the first time since 1993 that the Chamber has opposed a nominee to the NLRB. The Chamber’s opposition is based on Mr. Becker’s prolific writings, which suggest a radical view of labor law that flies in the face of established president and case law and as far outside the mainstream”.
Obviously, Obama disregarded these concerns. He issued a statement of his own:
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refused to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis”.
Now Craig Becker will be the deciding vote on all issues taken up by the NLRB. Is this really a cause for concern? Yes it is. The NLRB was established by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations act. It is chartered for governing the relationships between unions, employees and private sector employers in a fair and unbiased manner. It guarantees the rights of employees to either accept or refuse unionization efforts.
It also is chartered with resolving unfair labor practices committed by either labor organizations or employers. Again, it is supposed to be unbiased. Currently, the five-member board only has two acting members, and has been able to function for some time in this mode.
Now enter Craig Becker, who is Obama’s hand-picked nominee to bring fair and unbiased judgment regarding labor relations. Let’s find out something about him -
He is currently employed by the Service Employers International Union (SEIU) as Associate General Counsel.
He believes that employers do not have the right to alert authorities of illegal union activity during election campaigns.
He believes that only employees and union representatives should be heard regarding questions of voter eligibility, campaign contact and the results of elections.
He believes that employers should have no role in the unionization process whatsoever.
He does not believe in secret union ballots.
He wrote in 1993 law review article proclaiming that traditional notions of democracy should not apply in union elections.
He wrote that employers should be barred from attending NLRB hearings about elections.
He believes that employers should not argue against unionization on their own company property, and believes that employers should be prohibited from requiring employees to attend company meetings to discuss unions for any reason.
He believes that no employees should be able to opt out of union representation or paying union dues.
He’s written extensively protesting several NLRB decisions and believes they should be reversed.
He was a member of Pres. Obama’s transition team for the Department of Labor while still employed by the SEIU and AFL-CIO.
And here’s the best part. He was a lawyer working on behalf of ACORN, which is linked to numerous instances of voter fraud.
But let’s hear some quotes from Mr. Becker himself:
“On these latter issues employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case, even though Board rulings might indirectly affect their duty to bargain.”
“Similarly, employers should have no right to raise questions concerning voter eligibility or campaign conduct.”
“they should not be entitled to charge that unions disobeyed the rules governing voter eligibility or campaign conduct. On the questions of unit determination, voter eligibility, and campaign conduct, only the employee constituency and their potential union representatives should be heard.”
“Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.”
I don’t think I’m disturbed as much about Craig Becker as I am about Obama. Becker is a hired gun paid to represent very powerful union bosses. I understand that he believes he should do whatever it takes to push his agenda on behalf of his clients, just as any lawyer would. No, I’m much more concerned about Obama. The American people did not elect a President to exclusively represent union interests. They did not elect Obama to create a fourth branch of government called SEIU. It’s been two months since the State of the Union address in which Obama proclaimed “that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs”. Does Obama really think that the American people have a memory of less than 8 weeks? Unbelievable.
For more information:
Copyright 2010 by Craig Covello. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved
In closing, I would like to ad a heartfelt thanks to Craig and Ira for keeping this column going while I’m on location shooting a movie. Hopefully, I will have time to write an article myself shortly. In the worst case scenario, I will be back in Los Angeles in about six weeks.