In union there is strength… but whose?
One of the president’s nominations is coming up pretty soon, one Craig Becker, nominated to the National Labor Relations Board.
“President Obama has announced his plans to nominate Craig Becker and Mark Pearce as board members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board). The five-member Board serves as a quasi-judicial body in deciding cases under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Board Members are appointed to five-year terms, with the term of one member expiring each year. The Board traditionally consists of three members selected by the party controlling the White House, and two from the other party. Becker and Pearce, along with Chairwoman Liebman, would constitute the three Democratic-selected seats. Assuming President Obama follows precedent, only one Republican Board seat will remain vacant. When and how that seat will be filled is not clear.
Currently, Craig Becker serves as Associate General Counsel to both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations. Becker was part of Obama’s transition team, acting as a member of the Agency Review Team overseeing the Department of Labor. According to an entry posted on the National Association of Manufacturers’ ShopFloor, Becker is believed to have authored one of the labor-related executive orders issued on January 31, Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws.
Becker earned both his law school and undergraduate degrees from Yale in 1981 and 1978, respectively. For the past 27 years, Becker has taught and practiced labor law. In 2007, Becker represented the plaintiff in Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke, 127 S.Ct. 2339 (2007), in which he argued (unsuccessfully) that the Supreme Court should overturn a Labor Department regulation exempting home-care aides employed by third-party companies from federal minimum wage and overtime coverage. Becker has also written a number of labor-related articles, including Representing Low-Wage Workers in the Absence of a Class: The Peculiar Case of Section 16 of the Fair Labor Standards Act & the Underenforcement of Minimum Labor Standards published in the spring 2008 edition of the Minnesota Law Review, and Neutrality Agreements Take Center Stage at the National Labor Relations Board published in the Labor Law Journal.”
So who gives a frack?
Well, since the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) (with heavy irony on the “free choice”) is stalled in the senate, it seems that it’s possible for the NLRB to just waive their collective hand and make it so.
In the words of a Clinton staffer way back when, “Stroke of a pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”
The EFCA is also known as “card check.” What it means is, when a union wants to unionize a workplace, instead of holding an election with a secret ballot of the workers, the union guys could just go around to everybody’s home and say, “Wanna union? Just check this.”
I’m usually inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to people’s motives. If I think they’re wrong, I like to believe they’re merely mistaken about the consequences of what they advocate.
But card check? I cannot believe that anyone of normal intelligence does not see what an invitation to coercion this is.
A controlled economuy needs a thug corps. (That’s “core” not “corpse” BTW.*) Much experience abroad and at home shows this.**
Don’t want a union? Perhaps the first brick through your window will change your mind. Still being stubborn? Maybe little Johnny gets into more than his fair share of playground fights.
And BTW, I was a member of AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) once. Aside from irritating things like openly endorsing presidential candidates with my (involuntary) dues, as far as I was concerned, they were just another layer of management.
Note: This is an expansion of a comment I left at a column by Liz Mair.
* Much merriment on the Right has been had over President Obama’s mispronounciation of “corpsman” when eulogizing a Navy medic in Haiti. Everyone points out Bush would have been laughed at for the same. They’re quite right.
Some point out it shows the Commander-in-Chief’s utter unfamiliarity with matters military. They’re right too.
But what most have perhaps missed is, how it speaks to the president’s education and experience. It is quite common among bright kids who learn to read early, and non-native speakers who study English, to encounter and add many words to their vocabulary which they have never heard pronounced. Particularly if the word has an odd spelling or irregular stress. (As a kid I pronounced “origin” as “o-RI-gin” until my Mom corrected me – “O-ri-gin.”
It’s almost a parable about the difference between book learning and experience in the real world.
** Again and again I plead, get and read Jonah Goldbergs, ‘Liberal Fascism.’ Look up the history of America during WWI and the National Relief Act during the Depression.
UPDATE: The Senate blocked the confirmation of Craig Becker by a vote of 52-33. That makes 15 absent or abstaining senators. Which adds fuel to my growing suspicion that among those growing ever more uneasy about the Axis of Obama Agenda, are a quite number of Democrats. I further suspect we’ll be hearing more from them in the future.