Washington, DC (June 9, 2010) – Craig Becker, President Barack Obama’s controversial recess appointee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), responded this week to 13 motions for his recusal filed by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in cases pending before the Board.
After President Obama installed Becker on the NLRB in late March, Foundation attorneys quickly filed recusal motions in all Foundation-supported cases due to Becker’s extreme level of hostility against the Foundation and its legal arguments for workers’ rights, even when the NLRB or United States Supreme Court have agreed and ruled against unions for their abusive practices. Additionally, some of the cases directly involve affiliates of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Becker’s employer up to the date of his recess appointment.
But Becker has only agreed to recuse himself in Dana Corp., one pending case in which Becker’s conflict of interest was so great even he could not ignore it. In that case, Foundation attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges against an employer and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for illegal pre-recognition bargaining. In exchange for active company assistance during a coercive card check organizing campaign, UAW union officials made explicit concessions as to workers’ wages and benefits. Becker himself coauthored a joint brief for the UAW and AFL-CIO union hierarchy in that case.
However, Becker will not recuse himself in a related line of cases in which union officials have devised a legal strategy to overturn a landmark 2007 NLRB decision won by Foundation attorneys also concerning the UAW’s card check campaign at Dana Corp. In that decision, the Board granted employees the ability to demand a secret ballot election to toss out union officials from their workplace within 45 days after an employer recognizes a monopoly bargaining agent by card check. Becker denies having pre-judged the attempts to overturn that Dana decision despite a long career of advocating an extreme version of forced unionism that considers secret ballot elections “profoundly undemocratic” and despite having authored an amicus brief in that case opposing granting employees the opportunity to petition for decertification of unions recognized by card check.
Likewise, Becker has a long track record of personal bias towards the Foundation. Becker admits to having used “strong language” against the Foundation in published articles, but he ignores the fact that he once wrote that the Foundation only “purports to represent employees” even though it is patently obvious that Foundation staff attorneys have represented employees in hundreds of federal court and NLRB cases. Becker even has blamed the U.S. Supreme Court for having a “virtual obsession” with Foundation-assisted cases and criticized the NLRB’s General Counsel for putting cases like Dana before the Board.
Finally, Becker has announced a weak standard for recusal in cases involving SEIU affiliates. He ignores the financial dependence of the SEIU International, his former employer, on local affiliates and refuses to adopt the more stringent federal judge standard for recusal used by current NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman in cases concerning affiliates of the Teamster union, her former employer before being installed on the Board by President Bill Clinton.
“By announcing his weak recusal standards, Craig Becker has made a mockery of the much-touted Obama ethics pledge,” explained Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“He has pre-judged the secret ballot, and he will now decide a case that could take away from workers the limited ability to use the secret ballot to get rid of an unwanted union foisted on them by coercive card check schemes. He has helped orchestrate the legal strategy for SEIU affiliates across the country, but he has only found fit to recuse himself in one case so far,” continued Mix. “Craig Becker’s recusal standards would be comical if the livelihoods of hardworking Americans were not at stake.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.