Becker Nomination Defeated in Senate . . . for Now
SHRM usually does not become involved in Presidential nominations, but the nomination of Craig Becker, an associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has important implications for HR policies and practices.
On February 9, the U.S. Senate refused to consider the nomination of Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed to end debate and move to a vote on the nomination.
Thirty-one (31) Republican senators and two (2) Democratic senators – Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) – voted against proceeding with Becker’s nomination.
SHRM took the highly-unusual position of opposing the nomination because of Becker’s writings and statements on labor-management relations. The nominee has expressed support for the ideas in the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as his desire to have the NLRB overturn long-standing labor law precedents, such as an employee’s right to a private ballot election and an employer’s protection from being bound by a contract to which it has not agreed.
In light of SHRM’s opposition to EFCA, we felt we had to oppose the Becker nomination.
Despite last week’s Senate vote, the Becker nomination may not be dead. Senate leaders may try to hold another vote on the nominee – or President Obama could use his power to appoint Becker to the NLRB during the next Senate recess. If appointed during a congressional recess, Becker could remain at the NLRB until the end of this session of Congress – December 2011. To remain beyond this date, the Senate would have to vote to confirm him.