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Will the Culture of Union Favoritism Transform the National Labor Relations Board?

As if a spot on the president’s deficit cutting commission weren’t enough, union bosses at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) might receive an even greater expression of the president’s gratitude – a recess appointment of one of their top lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

It has been reported that President Obama may use this Easter holiday to install Craig Becker on the NLRB, despite bipartisan opposition to the nominee in the United States Senate. What makes this nominee so divisive? Two editorials published this morning shed some light on this nominee’s shady past:

“Mr. Becker has written extensively about the National Labor Relations Act, the law that the NLRB interprets and enforces. In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, he said that the ‘core defect in union election law . . . is the employer's status as a party to labor representation proceedings’ and that ‘employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees' election of representatives.’ In other words, employers should be barred from telling their employees they shouldn't unionize.”

Wall Street Journal, Editorial, “Obama’s Organization Man,” 3/26/2010

"Though the Senate has consistently refused to confirm Mr. Becker, the president has no intention of abandoning Big Labor's champion. Mark Mix of the National Right to Work organization reports that in 2007 alone, Mr. Becker's lawyering forced 63,000 California workers to pay union dues even after rejecting union membership. He allowed repeated ‘home visits’ for union backers, designed to pressure workers to sign public union-organizing petitions. Unions were ‘formed to escape the evils of individualism and individual competition. ... Their actions necessarily involve coercion,' Mr. Becker once explained."

Washington Times,
Editorial, “Obama’s Big Labor Payback,” 3/26/2010

Recently, all 41 Republican members of the Senate sent a letter to the president requesting he abandon this controversial move to install an equally controversial nominee. Will the president heed the advice of the Senate, or do one more favor on behalf of Big Labor? The president’s Secretary of Labor has said unions will be “very pleased” with the outcome. Workers on the other hand, may not be.

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