Examiner Editorial: President shows the love to union bosses 

Craig Becker is one radical dude. He claims management should be barred from National Labor Relations Board hearings on labor-management disputes, and he’s a strong advocate of Card Check, the union bosses’ proposal to do away with secret ballots in workplace representation elections.

None of this should be surprising, as Becker is the former associate general counsel for the radical Service Employees International Union and has represented the AFL-CIO in court. The son of a University of Iowa professor, he’s also a former law professor at Georgetown University and UCLA. In other words, he’s a product of two of the most out-of-touch milieus in American society.

Only 7 percent of all private-sector jobs are now represented by the unions Becker represents, and it’s all but impossible to find a more uniformly left-wing group than the typical American college faculty.

So why is President Barack Obama using his power of recess appointments — the right of a president to put somebody in an executive branch position until the next Congress convenes, which in the present case will be January — to install Becker as the deciding vote on the NLRB?

The answer to that question, of course, starts with what the five-member NLRB does, which is oversee the administration of the National Labor Relations Act, the basic rule book for labor-management relations since it was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935.

There’s also the fact that last month, Becker’s nomination fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to defeat a threatened Republican filibuster in the Senate, which left a recess appointment as the only way Obama could get his man on the NLRB.

Expect Becker to come on like a man possessed once he’s ensconced at the NLRB because nobody expects the next Congress to be any more receptive to his appointment than the current one. But nine months of Becker on the NLRB is better than nothing, especially since the Senate has been markedly unsympathetic to Card Check, despite it being the union bosses’ No. 1 legislative priority. Obama’s hope is that, with Becker calling the shots for the pro-labor NLRB majority, it will find a way to circumvent Congress and throttle workers’ right to secret ballots.

Doing the bidding of the union chiefs is central to Obama’s approach to governing. It’s no wonder SEIU President Andy Stern and the union’s chief lobbyist are the two most frequent visitors to the White House.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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