Obama Chooses SEIU-ACORN-Blago Ally to Join NLRB

Posted: Oct 15, 2009 12:35 PM
An article in today's Wall Street Journal examines President Obama's latest executive appointment that Big Labor must be salivating over.  Craig Becker, associate general counsel at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been nominated  to join the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

The NLRB is charged with "supervising union elections, investigating labor practices and interpreting the National Labor Relations Act.  In the past, Mr. Becker has argued in favor of rewriting current union election rules in favor of labor.  But now that he is up for consideration, Becker "won't tell Congress if this is what he still believes." 
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In written responses to questions from Republican Orrin Hatch, Mr. Becker promised only to "maintain an open mind about whether [his] suggestions should be implemented in any manner." That sounds like his mind is made up but he won't admit it lest it hurt his confirmation.

Mr. Becker also won't give a clear answer about his role in preparing several pro-labor executive orders issued by President Obama shortly after inauguration. Mr. Becker's name was found in at least one of the documents, suggesting that he had written it.

When asked by Sen. Hatch if he was "involved or responsible in any way" for these executive orders, Mr. Becker responded: "I was not responsible for [the specific executive orders] except as described below. As a member of the Presidential Transition Team, I was asked to provide advice and information concerning a possible executive order of the sort described. I was involved in researching, analyzing, preliminary drafting, and consulting with other members of the Transition team." In other words, Mr. Becker was the main author but would rather not say so explicitly.

The WSJ suggests that Becker's unwillingness to admit to being the main author of the executive orders is because "Mr. Becker seems to have been on the SEIU payroll at the time he did his "drafting." 

Uh-oh.  The Obama administration made a big public stink about excluding paid lobbyists from White House jobs, but let a paid union operative draft executive documents that would ultimately benefit... unions? 

If only this were the first of Mr. Becker's questionable dealings... he also has ties to the shady policies of disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.  Blago's facing a number of accusations these days, but one in particular relates to Becker: Blago is accused of accepting money from the SEIU in return for "taking actions giving collective bargaining rights to Illionois home health-care."

While Mr. Becker denies any knowledge of, or role in, contributions to the former Governor, he does admit that he provided "advice and counsel to SEIU relating to proposed executive orders and proposed legislation giving homecare workers a right to organize and engage in collective bargaining under state law."

Mr. Becker says he "worked with and provided advice" to SEIU Local 880 in Chicago, a beneficiary of the newly unionized health workers, and one of two SEIU locals currently in the national spotlight for its deep ties with Acorn. Mr. Becker denies working for Acorn or its affiliates, but as recently as April Acorn co-founder Wade Rathke praised Mr. Becker by name, noting "For my money, Craig's signal contribution has been his work in crafting and executing the legal strategies and protections which have allowed the effective organization of informal workers, and by this I mean home health-care workers."

With card check legislation currently taking the back burner to health care and cap & trade, Becker is undoubtedly looking forward to playing a large role in the Obama administration's Big Labor agenda in the future.  As the Journal points out,
The NLRB has both GOP and Democratic members, and nominees are typically packaged together to avoid hearings. In this case, the GOP nominee is Brian Hayes, an aide to Senator Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), who is eager to see Mr. Hayes confirmed with Mr. Becker and another Democrat, Mark Pearce. But Mr. Becker would sit with the majority, with the ability to dictate labor policy, and the stakes are too high to let him pass without more Senate and public scrutiny.