WASHINGTON, D.C. | October 20, 2009
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the top Republican on the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, today called on Senate Democratic leaders to hold a hearing on the nomination of Service Employees International Union Associate General Counsel Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker was nominated to the post in July; his nomination and others are expected to receive a vote by the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Committee as early as this week, although no hearings on Becker’s nomination have been held.
“It is the duty of the NLRB to administer and uphold federal workplace laws – not to rewrite the rules to favor a specific political constituency,” said Kline. “Workers deserve to know the qualifications and viewpoints of the individuals charged with administering the law and reconciling disputes. With a nominee such as Mr. Becker, whose extreme views surrounding the NLRB’s ability to reinterpret and overrule longstanding workplace policy are well documented, the only way to ensure a full, thorough, and public review of his qualifications is a public Senate confirmation hearing.”
Mr. Becker has been unambiguous about his belief that the rights of employers should be drastically limited under labor relations law, arguing in a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article that, “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.” Moreover, his writings have indicated a belief that the NLRB has the authority to reshape labor relations law and practices without congressional action.
“Mr. Becker’s writings and public viewpoints as an academic and union official call into question his ability to effectively – and objectively – serve in this important position. At a minimum, they raise serious questions about whether he intends to administer the law as written,” said Kline. “Judicial activism is no more acceptable on the NLRB than on the federal bench. When questions remain unanswered about a nominee’s intentions and disposition, it is the duty of the Senate’s Democratic leaders to allow for – and guarantee – a full and complete examination. Given the potential consequences for workers and employers, Mr. Becker’s nomination should not proceed without a full hearing and a rigorous public vetting process.”
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