Theodore's World: Andy Stern's Go-To Guy ....Craig Becker, Labor's Secret Weapon

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March 28, 2010

Andy Stern's Go-To Guy ....Craig Becker, Labor's Secret Weapon


The Wall Street Journal

Arlen Specter's party switch has renewed the debate over the legislative prospects for "card check," which would effectively eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections. But Big Labor might not even need card check if Craig Becker has his way.

Mr. Becker is one of two recent National Labor Relations Board appointments by President Obama.

The five-member NLRB supervises union elections, investigates labor practices and, most important, issues rulings that interpret the National Labor Relations Act. Mr. Becker, who is currently the associate general counsel at Andy Stern's Service Employees International Union, is all for giving unions more power over companies in elections. Only he's not sure he needs to wait for Congress.

Current law on organizing provides advantages and restrictions for both sides. Employers are required to provide union reps with a list of employees and their addresses. Union organizers can visit employees at home, but companies cannot. Organizers can also make promises to employees (such as obtaining raises), which employers cannot. Companies can argue their position at a work site up to 24 hours before an election, but they are barred from coercing employees. Both sides get a seat at the table during NLRB hearings about the scope of an election or complaints about how it was conducted.

Mr. Becker has other ideas. In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, he explained that traditional notions of democracy should not apply in union elections. He wrote that employers should be barred from attending NLRB hearings about elections, and from challenging election results even amid evidence of union misconduct. He believes elections should be removed from work sites and held on "neutral grounds," or via mail ballots. Employers should also be barred from "placing observers at the polls to challenge ballots."

More extraordinary, Mr. Becker advocated a new "body of campaign rules" that would severely limit the ability of employers to argue against unionization. He argued that any meeting a company holds that involves a "captive audience" ought to be grounds for overturning an election. If a company wants to distribute leaflets that oppose the union, for example, Mr. Becker said it must allow union access to its private property to do the same.

Mr. Becker isn't clear about which of these rules can be implemented by NLRB fiat, and which would require an act of Congress, but his mindset is clear enough. He's willing to push NLRB discretion as far as possible to tilt today's labor rules in favor of easier unionization.

Union leaders argue that they need these rule changes because they are at a disadvantage during elections. But a new report from the Bureau of National Affairs shows unions winning 67% of private ballot representation elections conducted by the NLRB in 2008, the highest rate since BNA began analyzing data in 1984. Meanwhile, 95% of all elections are conducted within 56 days of a union petition filing, with a median of 38 days. This suggests that the real union problem is that most workers don't want a union election in the first place. Employees are well aware of what has happened to the steel, auto and other heavily unionized industries.

Mr. Becker has a confirmation hearing coming up, and Senators should ask him to explain why someone who wants to rig the rules to favor unionization should sit on a panel that is supposed to enforce fairness in union elections.


Obama's Nomination of Craig Becker to Serve on National Labor Relations Board Fails in Senate

FOX News ( TUESDAY March 23, 2010 )

The Senate on Tuesday rejected Craig Becker, President Obama’s nominee for the National Labor Relations Board. Becker got 52 votes — but he needed 60 to break a GOP filibuster. Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska even voted no.


Senate gone, Obama seats nominees


SATURDAY - March 27th, 2010
Barack Obama has elected to bypass the Senate and unilaterally install 15 nominees, including the controversial Craig Becker to serve on the National Labor Relations Board, a move sure to infuriate Republicans.

The decision to install Becker — who was rejected by a GOP filibuster last month — is certain to inflame Republicans opposed to his ties to labor unions. Obama also installed Mark Pearce — another nominee favored by unions — to serve on the board.

The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” Obama said in a statement. “Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of the Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”

“This is something that Sen. [Harry] Reid strongly supports,” Jim Manley, Reid’s top spokesman, said Saturday. “Enough is enough. Republicans have made it very clear that they’re prepared to stall just about every nominee that’s being sent to the Senate.”

“I believe it is going to happen,” Harkin said Friday when asked about a possible appointment of Becker, whom Republicans had attacked as too pro-labor.

Wild Thing's comment........

The Senate voted NO way on this guy Becker so Obama will do it anyway no matter what. Nice huh! Obama sure likes being a Dictator and he loves Unions. Both Obama and Unions like to intimidate...... birds of a feather.

I realize other presidents have done this, but none of the other presidents were the radical, socialist, communist, marxist POS Obama.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at March 28, 2010 07:47 AM


I hate unions.

Posted by: TomR at March 28, 2010 01:42 PM

This craig Becker is a real piece of work, he ranks somewhere between but lower than a slip and fall lower but somewhat higher than a gutter snipe.

None of the Republicans in the Senate would confirm and I believe Jim Demint put his confirmation on hold for being just that kind of scumbag. Union commie leader andy stern considers becker to be the best schyster thug there is for union business. n

Posted by: Mark at March 28, 2010 09:52 PM

Tom, me too. I have heard only bad things about them.

Mark, your right, he is awful. Obama forces this guy through and he even doesn't care that a couple of dems do not want Becker either. That says a lot too about Obama thinking he is untouchable and King.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 29, 2010 02:37 AM