ALG Praises Senate for Blocking Craig Becker, Urges Obama to Rule Out Recess Appointment

"Barack Obama is now prepared to achieve via recess appointment what he could not in the U.S. Senate, which may very well be the overall legacy left by Craig Becker as he single-handedly rewrites labor relations law without any Congressional amendment to statute."—ALG President Bill Wilson

February 10th, 2010—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today praised the Senate for blocking Barack Obama's nominee for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Craig Becker, and said, "Now it is time for Barack Obama to take the Becker nomination off-the-table completely and rule out a recess appointment, protecting the rights of workers from coerced unionization."

"Big Labor bosses have made it clear that appointing Becker no matter what is 'the highest priority for organized labor,'" Wilson said, quoting an email released by Jeri Thompson, co-host of the Fred Thompson Show, from an SEIU lobbyist to Democratic members of the U.S. Senate.

"The email showed the SEIU setting the Senate's schedule for the Becker confirmation," Wilson explained. 

"Now, to push forward Big Labor's 'highest priority,' Obama's most likely step is to simply make a recess appointment," Wilson added, "despite the fact that Becker's views on labor relations law which are far out of the mainstream."

The AFL-CIO has already called for such an appointment, as reported by the American Spectator.  The Spectator also reports Obama saying, "If the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess."

Becker could be recess-appointed as soon as the President Day's recess on February 12th, and could serve until the conclusion of the next session in late 2011.

Wilson resumed his criticism of Becker, noting that "Becker has advocated making substantial changes to the National Labor Relations Act via the National Labor Relation Board without any Congressional approval."

Becker has served as counsel for both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, and Wilson said "Craig Becker was nominated precisely because of his radical views on labor law, which union bosses want implemented administratively through venues like the NLRB."

According to a report published by Americans for Limited Government, "Militant on a Mission," Becker wrote in 1993 that "employers should have no right to raise questions concerning voter eligibility or campaign conduct" and "employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case." Both views conflict with longstanding interpretations of national labor relations laws.

Fueling opposition to his nomination, Becker has also stated that his proposals could be achieved without Congressional approval: "The [National Labor Relations] Board should return to the principle that a union election is not a contest between the employer and the union... Unlike the other proposals, however, it could be achieved with almost no alteration to the statutory framework."

According to the ALG report, "This unilateral imposition of his views regardless of Congressional approval may apply to Card Check legislation as well."

In 2006, Becker opined, "With only eight percent of people in the private sector represented by unions, how can anyone say that we should close off or narrow the means by which employees can obtain union representation?"

Under current law, the National Labor Relations Act, workers have a right to a secret ballot when unions are organized. Unions have lobbied the Obama administration and Congress for a "card check" system in the EFCA that would eliminate the employer's right to request a secret ballot election, allowing unions to be organized without any possibility of a ballot.

"The right of workers to decide free of intimidation whether they want to organize a union or not is still in danger, and will be so long as Obama maintains support for putting Becker into government," Wilson said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Becker was also responsible for the drafting of several pro-union executive orders while serving simultaneously on the Barack Obama's presidential transition team and on the SEIU payroll.  One of the orders repealed required federal contractors to post notice that workers do not have to pay for the political expenditures of their unions.

Testifying about the orders, 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 said that the executive orders "show that Becker's agenda is to achieve via executive regulation what cannot be achieved via the legislative process."

In addition, the ALG report charges that Becker "instituted new policies to force political contributions from union locals in potential violation of the law; was implicated in the scandal surrounding disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; endured major financial scandals; engaged in alleged intimidation of its members; pursued union contracts that would have prevented unionized nursing home workers from reporting elder abuse; gave millions of dollars to the scandal-plagued group ACORN;  and hired private detectives to spy on union members."

Wilson concluded, "Barack Obama is now prepared to achieve via recess appointment what he could not in the U.S. Senate, which may very well be the overall legacy left by Craig Becker as he single-handedly rewrites labor relations law without Congressional any amendment to statute."

"Militant on a Mission: Report on Craig Becker, Nominee to the National Labor Relations Board," Americans for Limited Government, January 2010.

ALG Nominee Alert, Craig Becker, August 2009.