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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Against Recess Appointent Of NLRB Nominee Craig Becker

Led by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John McCain (R-Arizona), all 41 Republican Senators today urged President Barack Obama to not "overturn the bipartisan vote against the nomination of Craig Becker to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)."

In the letter to the President, the Republican Senators wrote, "We urge you not to bypass the bipartisan Senate vote by giving Mr. Becker a recess appointment to the NLRB. Taking this action would install a rejected nominee for an appointed term to the NLRB, setting an unfortunate precedent for all future nominations and future administrations."

On February 9, the Senate, on bipartisan basis, rejected Becker's nomination by a vote of 52 to 43. Becker never sufficiently answered questions posed to him by Republican members of the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which both Hatch and McCain are members.

"Craig Becker stands far outside the mainstream of NLRB nominees," said Senator Orrin Hatch. "Given the bipartisan opposition to his nomination, the Administration would be wise to not circumvent the will of the Senate by recess appointing him to the NLRB. There is no place on this powerful board for someone who believes that card check legislation -- getting rid of the secret union ballot -- can be enacted surreptitiously through regulation."

"The U.S. Senate has made its feelings clear on Mr. Becker and his ability to serve in a fair and impartial manner as a member of the NLRB," said Senator John McCain. "If this Administration chooses to recess appoint Mr. Becker, it would be just another example of putting the will of one special interest group over the will of the American people."

Below and attached is the full letter to the President:

President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We are writing to urge you not to overturn the bipartisan vote against the nomination of Craig Becker to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) through a recess appointment. To do so would bypass the advice and consent traditions of the Senate.

There is another bipartisan alternative. You have nominated three individuals for seats on the NLRB: Democratic union lawyer Mark Gaston Pearce, Senate HELP Committee Republican Labor Coordinator Brian Hayes, and Mr. Becker. Of these three, only Mr. Becker has generated any controversy.

In fact, the Senate appears prepared to confirm Messrs. Pearce and Hayes, which would give the NLRB a quorum of four Members. Thereafter, either Senate confirmation or your recess appointment of a fifth Member, other than Mr. Becker, would complete the Board with a 3-2 Democratic majority.

We oppose Mr. Becker's recess appointment because of his extensive, highly controversial writings, and his entire legal and scholarly career, all of which indicate that he could not be viewed as impartial, unbiased, or objective in deciding cases before this quasi-judicial agency. Instead, his writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the Board's authority and bypassing the role of Congress. His rejection of traditional notions of democracy in union elections and of an employer's status as a party to labor representation proceedings has garnered bi-partisan opposition to his nomination.

Also, as the first NLRB nominee to come directly from the legal staff of an international union (SEIU) and a union federation (AFL-CIO), Mr. Becker would, by his own admission, be required to recuse himself from many cases before the NLRB due to a legal or ethical conflict. He has offered to recuse himself only from cases involving the SEIU or the AFL-CIO as individual institutions. However, we believe that in order to avoid a conflict, or even the appearance of a conflict, Mr. Becker also should be required to recuse himself from all cases involving any of the SEIU's locals, as well as the international union itself.

Mr. President, we also are concerned that Mr. Becker's service on the Presidential Transition Team while still employed by the SEIU violates your own stated ethical principles. While on the Transition Team for the Department of Labor, and while still employed by the SEIU, Mr. Becker has admitted that he substantially wrote several of the Executive Orders you issued shortly after taking office. Those Executive Orders clearly benefitted the SEIU and the AFL-CIO. Such actions undermine the confidence we and members of the public can have in Mr. Becker's judgment, as well as his objectivity, and they belie your Administration's stated higher ethical standards.

We urge you not to bypass the bipartisan Senate vote by giving Mr. Becker a recess appointment to the NLRB. Taking this action would install a rejected nominee for an appointed term to the NLRB, setting an unfortunate precedent for all future nominations and future administrations.


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