Senate rejects Obama's NLRB nominee

By Chris Rizo | Dec 28, 2009

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Senate has rejected one of President Barack Obama's nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

The president had nominated Craig Becker, counsel for the Service Employees International Union, to the powerful board. His nomination was rejected last week by the Senate.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee confirmed Becker's nomination without holding a hearing. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., thwarted Becker's nomination following the committee's action.

Industry groups -- including the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and Associated Builders and Contractors -- had voiced concern over Becker, a former law school professor.

"Mr. Becker has written prolifically about the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the law he would be charged with interpreting and enforcing should he be confirmed," the letter said. "Many of the positions taken in his writings are well outside the mainstream and would disrupt years of established precedent and the delicate balance in current labor law."

The Wall Street Journal had editorialized against Becker's nomination, noting ties between the Service Employees International Union, where he has been associate general counsel and the social activist group ACORN.

"President Obama nominated Mr. Becker in April to the five-member NLRB, which has the critical job of supervising union elections, investigating labor practices, and interpreting the National Labor Relations Act. In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, Mr. Becker argued for rewriting current union-election rules in favor of labor. And he suggested the NLRB could do this by regulatory fiat, without a vote of Congress," the newspaper wrote.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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