Employers Still Have the Right to Oppose Becker Nomination

By February 8, 2010General, Labor Unions

Thanks to the Mid-Atlantic snowstorm, Senate debate on the nomination of SEIU counsel Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board has been postponed until Tuesday. A cloture vote is now anticipated after 5 p.m.

Opposition to Becker is strong among the business community:

Kevin Williamson, an editor at National Review, analyzes Becker’s anti-employer writings and calls Becker The ‘Shut Up’ Candidate“:

He has argued that businesses should be prohibited from presenting the case against organizing unions — to their own workers, on their own property, on their own time. And if secret-ballot elections survive his card-check dreams, he doesn’t want anybody taking too close a look at any possibly fraudulent election: He has written that employers should be banned from placing observers at the polls or challenging ballots. He argues that businesses should be compelled to open up their own private property so that union organizers may conduct their electioneering on the premises.

So what if the organizing vote is fraudulent? Or marked by the trademark violence and intimidation tactics long associated with Big Labor? Becker’s answer, in his own words, is this: “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.” Legalese for: “Shut up.”

The Senate breaks next week for the Presidents Day recess, and buzz is picking up about a possible recess appointment for Becker. The unions are signaling their support for the move, a Politico article suggests:

“They can’t let the minority party call the shots when it comes to the handling of critical nominations,” Bill Samuel, legislative director of the powerful AFL-CIO, said, calling on Obama to consider recess appointing Becker if his nomination stalls.

According to the Congressional Research Service, a recess appointment made in mid-February would serve until the conclusion of the next Senate session, i.e., the end of 2011.  One wonders: If President Obama were to recess appoint Becker, what would happen to the two, non-controversial nominees, Mark Pearce, the Democrat, and Brian Hayes, the Republican? Recess appointments also, or straight up-and-down Senate votes allowing them to complete terms, which for Hayes is through 2012 and for Pearce, 2013?

Finally, as previously noted, NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman on Friday took the unusual step of getting involved in the Senate confirmation battle by issuing a news release decrying the lack of a full quorum on the NLRB. She omits the fact that President Bush’s nominees to fill the vacancies in 2007 and 2008 were blocked by the Senate majority, who also prevented recess appointments by scheduling regular pro forma sessions.

The Hill, “Labor board chief wants vote on NLRB nominees

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