“So much for Barack Obama's vaunted claims of transparency. Two union hacks with shady histories are nominated for the NLRB, and instead of public scrutiny, they get executive sessions to hide their pasts."—ALG President Bill Wilson
October 20th, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today in a letter urged Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions to hold public hearings on all nominees for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Tomorrow, the committee will hold an executive session on the nominees to the NLRB. Thus far, there have been no public hearings held on these nominees.
In his letter, Wilson wrote, "There are numerous, substantial issues in the backgrounds of two of these nominees, Craig Becker and Mark Pearce. For instance, Craig Becker is a longtime union activist who has spent considerable time and energy fighting for reduced rights for union members. His strong advocacy against workers brings into question whether he can be neutral when deciding cases involving union issues."
According to the Wall Street Journal, "In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, Mr. Becker argued for rewriting current union-election rules in favor of labor. And he suggested the NLRB could do so by regulatory fiat, without a vote in Congress."
In a statement Wilson said, "Barack Obama has nominated Craig Becker, who he believes the NLRB can arbitrarily change the rules for union elections, raising questions as to whether the NLRB under Obama is planning to do away with secret ballot elections for unions."
Under current law, unions have to provide for a secret ballot when they are organized. Unions have lobbied the Obama administration and Congress for a "card check" system that would allow unions to be organized without any ballot.
According to the Journal, Becker was also responsible for drafting several pro-union executive orders while serving simultaneously on the Barack Obama's presidential transition team and on the SEIU payroll. In testimony, Becker said, "I was asked to provide advice and information concerning a possible executive order of the sort described. I was involved in researching, analyzing, preliminary drafting, and consulting with other members of the Transition team."
Wilson was also critical of the nomination of Mark Pearce in his letter to Harkin, "Mark Pearce's past advocacy has included among other things representing corrupt union leaders who embezzled workers' money."
ALG's own background material on Pearce reveals that he "served as counsel to Frank Ervolino and his unions, among them HERE Local 4. In 1995, dissidents within the union wanted to see the union's financial records and were rebuffed, with Pearce's assistance. Pearce pushed back against the 500 union members who asked to see the records."
Ervolino was later indicted in 2000, along with his wife, on multiple counts of embezzlement and conspiracy. Ervolino died before trial, but his wife, Anna May, plead guilty and made restitution of $144,470.79 to the union's benefit plans.
The letter continues, "These two nominees are not the type of leaders that this country needs. The issues in their backgrounds require significant, public examination. To deny the public of the opportunity to observe this examination is not the proper course of action. The Committee should conduct its work in public for all to see and should not resort to executive meetings to move nominees forward."
"So much for Barack Obama's vaunted claims of transparency. Two union hacks with shady histories are nominated for the NLRB, and instead of public scrutiny, they get executive sessions to hide their pasts," Wilson concluded.
ALG Letter to Senator Tom Harkin RE: NLRB Nominees, October 20th, 2009.
ALG Nominee Alert, Craig Becker, August 2009.
ALG Nominee Alert, Mark Pearce, August 2009.