Yesterday, I wrote about the battle over the nomination of union lawyer Craig Becker to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. For years, the labor movement has been pushing for a new “card check” law that would deny workers a secret ballot on unionization, and thus enable labor to rapidly add members through intimidation. While the Orwellian named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has been stalled in the Senate, President Obama appointed Becker to be the tie-breaking vote on the NLRB. This is particularly significant because Becker has previously argued that the Board could institute EFCA on its own, in the absence of legislative action.
In testimony earlier this week, Becker tried to distance himself from his past writings. “The law is clear that the decision…(of) an alternative route to certification rests with Congress and not the board,” Becker said, according to Dow Jones Newswires, claiming that his writings were “intended to be provocative and to ask fundamental questions in order for scholars and others to re-evaluate.”
But writing in the Huffington Post yesterday, Stewart Acuff, chief of staff for the Utility Workers Union of America, lets the cat out of the bag:
[If] we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action to once again allow workers in America access to one of the most basic freedoms in a democracy–the freedom of speech and assembly and association so that workers can build the collective power to challenge the Financial Elite and Get America Back to Work.
Becker is considered one of the intellectual fathers of EFCA, has already gone on the record endorsing a regulatory approach to enacting it, and is himself a part of the labor movement having been counsel to the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. There’s every reason to believe that were he confirmed, he would do the bidding of unions and work actively to bypass Congress and implement EFCA “through administrative action.”
Fortunately, with the seating of Scott Brown, Becker’s nomination is now in doubt.