20 October 2009
Dear Chairman Harkin & Ranking Member Enzi:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), I urge you to request a hearing on Craig Becker, President Obama’s nomination for National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A Senate hearing would allow for Mr. Becker to clarify his past positions, many of them controversial, and give Mr. Becker a forum to explain his vision for the NLRB and their role in labor reform.

Members of the NLRB have the critical tasks of supervising union elections, investigating labor practices, and interpreting the National Labor Relations Act. Bestowing that power to change the employer-employee relationship without a full Senate hearing is irresponsible at best.
Mr. Becker, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) associate general council, suggested that members of the NLRB should rewrite union-election rules in favor of unions in a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article. When asked by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to clarify this statement, Mr. Becker only promised to “maintain an open mind about whether [his] suggestions should be implemented in any manner.”

As associate general for the SEIU, Mr. Becker kept precarious relationships with Acorn and former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Mr. Becker was involved in numerous legal actions involving SEIU locals tied to ACORN and won praise from ACORN co-founder, Wade Rathke. Mr. Rathke said of Becker, “For my money, Craig’s signal contribution has been his work in crafting and executing the legal strategies and protections which have allowed the effective organization of informal workers, and by this I mean home health-care workers.” It is unfair to levy partially substantiated guilt-by-association charges against Mr. Becker but his lack candor is troubling and deserves all full Senate hearing.

A full hearing will allow Senators to qualify Mr. Becker’s beliefs and determine if he represents a fringe movement, as many past statements suggest, or if his beliefs are within mainstream thought. Furthermore, the public deserves an opportunity to hear from Mr. Becker directly as the body he is nominated for, the NLRB, has the potential to change every workplace in America.

Grover G. Norquist

cc:     All members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions