Opposing the Nomination of Craig Becker to the NLRB

By January 25, 2010Labor Unions

The National Association of Manufacturers today sent a letter (copy here) to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions opposing the confirmation of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. President Obama on January 20 renominated Becker, an SEIU and AFL-CIO attorney, after the Senate returned his nomination to the White House at the end of 2009.

Key passages from the NAM letter:

We continue to have strong concerns that Mr. Becker’s views and interpretation of our labor law system would radically change the nature of the NLRB. We are particularly concerned with his opinions offered in academic journals that the NLRB should limit the ability of employers to communicate with their employees during union organizing campaigns.  Mr. Becker’s writings express an interest in limiting the amount of time employees have to make the important decision whether or not to join a labor union. The NAM firmly believes employees should have access to information from both employers and union officials and the ability to carefully review that information in order to better make important decisions that impact their jobs and families.

Mr. Becker’s views indicate that he believes the NLRB has the authority to make certain decisions that are pending in proposed legislation. Such positions include redefining the supervisory status of frontline supervisors in order to place such employees into labor union bargaining units with other eligible employees.  Mr. Becker has written extensively and positively about how the NLRB could rewrite current union election rules in favor of union organizers, a decision that should be left to Congress. We are particularly concerned that if confirmed, Mr. Becker would seek to advance aspects of the jobs-killing Employee Free Choice Act through actions of the NLRB.

Members of the NLRB should express a commitment to principles of fairness and balance that are the foundation of our labor laws. Mr. Becker’s radical interpretation of these laws is not appropriate for members of the Board, who are charged with administering our nation’s labor laws in an unbiased manner.

The NAM last year asked for the Senate HELP Committee to conduct a confirmation hearing to explore these issues with the President’s nominee, but the Committee voted through Becker’s nomination with the two other candidates, Buffalo labor lawyer Mark Pearce and Brian Hayes, a former Republican committee staffer. Without such a hearing, opposition is called for.

The NAM’s concern is shared by many other business groups wary of Becker’s anti-employer attitudes. On Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged HELP Committee members to hold a formal hearing on Becker’s nomination.

For previous Shopfloor.org posts on Becker’s record and nomination, go here.

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