Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Update: Senator Harkin justifies vote saying NLRB nomineee “cannot” change the rules

When it comes to whether NLRB nominee Craig Becker can “implement the Employee Free Choice Act by administrative fiat,” AFL-CIO’s Stewart Acuff says “yes”. Senator Harkin justified his pro-Becker vote yesterday by saying “no”.

This comes directly from Senator Tom Harkin’s prepared statement at the HELP Committee Executive Session on Pending Nominations yesterday.  Shout out to for calling attention to this:

“Critics have also questioned whether Mr. Becker would come to the Board with an agenda, and whether he would try to implement the Employee Free Choice Act by administrative fiat. As you are all aware, I’m a supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, and I hope to see it passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.  But I don’t have any illusions that those important changes can somehow be accomplished administratively, and neither does Craig Becker.”

““He has clearly and consistently explained, on numerous occasions, that all three major reforms proposed in EFCA—card check, binding arbitration for first contracts, and treble backpay for illegally fired workers—cannot be accomplished without a change in the statute. And as we all know, statutes can only be amended by those of us elected to Congress, not Executive Branch appointees.”

Bottom line: If Craig Becker couldn’t do so much, the unions wouldn’t fight so hard. It’s what Sen. Harkin was referring to when he begged the HELP committee to approve Becker so he could “start his important work“.  Senator Harkin and Stewart Acuff may not be on the same page publicly, but privately, it’s a whole different story.

Image courtesy of gualtiero.

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