Will Obama Labor Relations appointee Craig Becker recuse himself from cases involving National Right to Work? 

Part two of my series on Big Labor’s agenda is up today, and in today’s article I discuss a number of problematic labor appointments by the Obama administration — including Craig Becker’s recess appointment to the National Labor Relations Board.

Despite having loudly objected to Bush’s use of recess appointments, over the weekend Obama made 15 recess appointments of his own. Among them was Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), despite the fact that the former lawyer for the SEIU and AFL-CIO  had been held up in the Senate by a bipartisan vote on the grounds that he was too radical.

Well, here’s a new wrinkle. One of the biggest interests groups on labor issues in Washington is National Right to Work. Unions try and portray the organization as a shill for big business, but the fact is that National Right to Work is the only organization providing free legal aid to workers with grievances against their union, and is otherwise responsible for doing a lot to keep unions in check.

Not surprisingly, Becker hates National Right to Work and has written several pointed things about the group including that they are “funded by the most anti-union fringe of the employer community” and are “ideologically driven.” Considering that Becker believes “employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case,” he’s probably not the best judge of what it means to be “ideologically driven” or part of “the anti-union fringe.”

Becker has also written “at the urging of the [National] Right to Work Committee the Supreme Court has developed a virtual obsession [with cases where workers get legal aid from the National Right to Work].” And there are other examples of National Right to Work antipathy.

Well, the fact is that you can’t swing a dead cat in the labor relations world without hitting something National Right to Work is involved in. It’s hard to imagine that Becker is capable of giving them (or just about anyone who isn’t a union) a fair hearing. National Right to Work has responded by filing two different recusal motions against Becker on the National Labor Relations Board. It will be telling to see how this gets handled.

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Mark Hemingway

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