The Senate HELP Committee hearing on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board lasted about an hour, with Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) telling committee members to submit any additional questions to 10 a.m. Wednesday. The committee markup will be 10 a.m. Thursday, and it does appear that the Majority will try to schedule a Senate floor vote on the SEIU associate counsel’s confirmation before new Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is sworn on February 11.
Mr. Becker’s prepared statement is here. In that statement and in response to questions, he attempted to distance himself from the more inflammatory statements in his legal writings, such as “employers should have no legally sanctioned role in union elections.” Excerpt:
Although the labor relations bar tends to be a divided one, I embrace the opportunity, should I become a member of the Board, to transcend the adversarial process in order to serve a larger purpose – the fair and faithful enforcement of the law. I fully understand that, if confirmed, I will occupy a position far different from the positions I have occupied as a scholar, teacher, and advocate. I fully understand that, if confirmed, my decisions, unlike the views of a scholar, will have practical, concrete, and important consequences for labor, management and the public at large. In sum, I fully understand that, if confirmed, I will have a duty to implement the intent of Congress as expressed in the law, to consider impartially all views appropriately expressed to the Board, to deliberate with my fellow Board Members, to use the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by the Board’s career staff, and to decide cases fairly based on the relevant facts and applicable law.
Becker acquitted himself well in the hearing, which was not that contentious.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who had placed a hold on Becker’s nomination in 2009, was the most aggressive of the questioners at the hearing, pressing Becker on his agreement to recuse himself from NLRB proceedings dealing with the SEIU for two years. That’s not good enough, the Senator concluded.
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