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NLRB nominee challenged by business organization

08.28.09

September 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

NLRB nominee challenged by business organization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, August 14th- The majority of the mainstream media has failed to report the Obama Administration had sent to the United States Senate the nominiations of Craig Becker, Mark Gaston Pearce, and Brian Hayes to be members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC. however, this newspaper published the information in the previous edition. Meanwhile, the largest business group in the nation has objected to one of the nominations.

If confirmed by the Senate, the NLRB would have a full complement of five members for the first time since December 7th, 2007. The sitting members are Chairman Wilma Liebman and Member Peter Schaumber.

President Obama announced his intention to nominate labor law attorney’s Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce for the two vacant Democratic seats on the NLRB. The intent to nominate Mr. Hayes to fill the vacant Republican seat was announced shortly before the nominations were sent to the Senate.

Mr. Hayes currently serves as the Republican Labor Policy Director for the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Mr. Hayes’s term would expire on December 16th, 2012. Mr. Pearce, in private practice with a Buffalo, New York law firm, would have a term ending August 27th, 2013. Mr. Becker, Associate General Counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), would have a term ending December 16th, 2014.

Chairman Liebman’s term expires on August 27th, 2011, and member Schaumber’s term ends August 27th, 2010. By tradition, three of the five NLRB seats are filled by individuals of the same political party of the President in office.

The United States Chamber of Commerce announced on July 27th, the organization is urging the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to hold a hearing on the nomination of Mr. Becker to the NLRB.

In a letter sent by the organizations Executive Vice President for Government Relations, R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber cited concern over what the business group stated was Becker’s “out-the-mainstream” views on the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

Specifically, the Chamber of Commerce cited public writings in which Mr. Becker states that employers have no legitimate role to play when their employees are targeted by a labor union organizing campaign.

The Chamber of Commerce cited an article Mr. Becker wrote in the Minnesota Law Review that he believes, “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.”

Also, Mr. Josten’s letter, obtained by the newspaper, expresses concern that Mr. Becker’s ties to the SEIU, an avid proponent of the “Employee Free Choice Act,” could lead him to advance “Card Check” organizing through administrative action by the National Labor Relations Board.

“While the views articulated in Becker’s articles are alarming in and of themselves, what is especially troubling is that Mr. Becker does not necessarily believe that such changes require Congressional approval,” wrote Mr. Josten.

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