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Chamber of Commerce lobbying hard against NLRB nominee

02.15.10

FEBRUARY 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Chamber of Commerce lobbying hard against NLRB nominee

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 30th- More than seven months after the Obama Administration sent to the United States Senate the nomination of Craig Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) he has yet to be confirmed because of lobbying of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington of the business organization supporters in the Senate.

In April, 2009 President Obama announced his intention to nominate labor law attorneys Mr. Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce for the two vacant Democratic seats on the NLRB. Brian Hayes was nominated by Mr. Obama to be the Republican member of the NLRB. If confirmed by the Senate the NLRB would have a full complement of five members for the first time since December 16th, 2007. There must be at least three members seated on the NLRB to have a quorum. The NLRB oversees the enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Senate in December returned the nomination of Mr. Becker back to the White House, however the Obama Administration resubmitted his name on Janaury 19th.

Mr. Becker’s seat on the NLRB has been blocked by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain by calling for hearings before proceeding to full committee consideration of his nomination.

The United States Chamber of Commerce stated Mr. McCain has a legislative hold on the Becker nomination because it will take 60 votes to invoke cloture on the nomination before it can proceed to an up-or-down vote and all of the Democrats in the Senate have not agreed to support closure. Because of the Massachusetts election the Democratic party will have 59 seats in the Senate but were unable to seat Mr. Becker when the party held sixty seats.

Mr. Becker is Associate General Counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington DC.

The sitting members of the NLRB are Chairman Wilma Liebman and member Peter Schaumber.

Mr. Hayes was in private legal practice for more than twenty-five years devoted exclusively to representing management clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. He was represented employers in scores of cases before the NLRB, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and various state fair employment practice agencies.

The Chamber of Commerce stated Mr. Becker was blocked by Senator McCain because of his view that employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives. Also, Mr. Becker’s ties to the SEIU, an avid proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct) legislation could lead him to advance “Card Check” organizing through administrative action of the NLRB.

“Craig Becker’s nomination represents plan B for organized labor to override the will of Congress and implement elements of card check legislation. Any Senator who supports the private ballot should oppose this nomination,” said Chamber of Commerce Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel Steven Law on January 22nd.

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

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