Craig Becker at the NLRB – Now What?

By March 29, 2010Labor Unions

Over the weekend the President indicated that he will be recess appointing both Democrat nominees (Craig Becker and Mark Pearce) to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB.) As Mr. Becker begins his Board service, it’s important to point out that he has committed to a very limited recusal of business that may go before the Board.

In his response to Senators’ questions, Becker committed to recusing himself for one year from any matters including either union internationals – the AFL-CIO or SEIU. This limited recusal is highly suspect. Most Board actions don’t normally involve internationals, but usually address conflicts between a local labor union and an employer. While Mr. Becker pledges not to be involved in the decisions of major labor organizations, he has not expressed a willingness to recuse himself of any decisions affecting labor local – and it’s entirely possible to make major changes in applying labor law through these decisions. This issue was noted by the letter sent from all 41 Republican Senators last week.

Other items of interest:

Bret Jacobson at the thetruthaboutefca.com blog notes an observation from former NLRB Member John Raudabaugh:

The NLRB is now 3 to 1. On August 27, it will be 3 to 0. Not since the New Deal and first six years of the NLRB, 1935-1941, has the Board been all Democrats or all from one party. Labor law reform followed in 1947 to balance the scales. Is the past to be prologue.

Click here to read a report by John Raudabaugh on the consequences of the new appointments to the NLRB.

Mike Eastman at the U.S. Chamber also highlights what to expect from the NLRB now that Becker has been seated:

Last fall, anticipating such an outcome, the Chamber published a report, The National Labor Relations Board in the Obama Administration: What Changes to Expect, in which we summarize more than 50 NLRB decisions that we believe are most likely to be reversed by the current NLRB. While some of these cases are high profile, such as Dana/Metaldyne that effectively gives employees notice before a union and an employer can circumvent the law’s secret ballot process for union recognition, others are much less well know. However, reversal of these technical rules, such as whether permanent strike replacement workers may be hired on an at-will basis, as discussed in Jones Plastics and Engineering Co., collectively will increase union leverage in every aspect of labor-management relations.

To access this report click here.

For related blog posts on this issue click here.

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