The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel interviews Lawrence Z. Lorber , a partner in the Washington offices of Proskauer Rose LLP and one of the best-known lawyers in employment and labor law who has worked employer groups. Lorber takes on a variety of important issues and closes with the Employee Free Choice Act. From “Through The Lens Of A Seasoned Employment Lawyer“:
Editor: Where do the Employee Free Choice Act and card check provisions stand?
Lorber: It is an idea that was advanced by labor academics and labor unions, but it has not been received well in Congress. In my view it is a radical idea to take away the secret ballot and a misguided attempt to solve the unions’ problem of decreasing penetration in the workforce by just putting people in unions without their informed consent. Card check per se is not going to become law. However, there is a new NLRB dominated by recess appointees. So, while I don’t think they can get card check by legislation, they certainly can push expedited elections and many of the other components of the Free Choice Act to see if they can succeed by regulation or case reversal rather than by legislation.
Yes, agreed. Employers have reason to be alarmed by an activist, union-succoring National Labor Relations Board, which explains the fierce opposition to President Obama’s nomination — and recess appointment — of SEIU counsel Craig Becker to the board.
The NAM’s Keith Smith blogged about the latest developments on the Becker front yesterday, the attempt to confirm his nomination to a full term on the NLRB prevented by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s objection to a unanimous agreement request by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee. In reading the debate between the two Senators, we find this statement from Sen. Harkin:
So, again, you know, Mr. Becker is well qualified. Even my Republican colleagues freely admitted that in the committee, that he was well qualified. Do you know what their objection was? He comes from a union background. He comes from a union background. To the Republicans, that is a mortal sin.
Well, if you are Catholic, you know what that means. That is a mortal sin. That is unforgivable to Republicans to have a union background.
We’ll let Senate Republicans speak for themselves on matters of theology, but it’s not the union background that employer groups like the NAM objected to: It was Becker’s history of radical writings on labor law that dismissed any role for employers in the workplace. The National Association of Manufacturers detailed the objections in a Feb. 8 letter to the U.S. Senate.
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