Rejected procedurally by the full Senate on Christmas Eve, Craig Becker had his day in court yesterday (Feb. 2, 2010) as he was grilled by the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which in 2009 voted 15-8 to send his name to the full Senate for confirmation but was blocked by Senator John McCain (R.-Arizona), who used Senatorial prerogative to place a hold on the vote.
Becker is controversial for suggesting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to which he has been nominated by President Obama twice now, can issue a gag order on employers during union organization drives and can also green light the use of card authorization rather than secret ballot elections for unionization.
Yesterday, he backed down, saying:
"The law is clear that the decision…(of) an alternative route to certification rests with Congress and not the board," Becker said, adding that the writings were "intended to be provocative and to ask fundamental questions in order for scholars and others to re-evaluate."
The writings to which he referred were the documents in which he made his suggestions about the NLRB's acting alone to take pro-labor positions.
Becker is a union lawyer and academic who was served as counsel for both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and AFL-CIO.