Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Binge, Purge, Binge, Purge

Nothing much going on right now. Waiting for specifics on some elections coming up, especially USC. Also waiting for some possible other elections to be released by the NLRB.

RUMOR ALERT - Rumblings are that SEIU got an order to show cause last Friday on about 100 similarly worded petitions before the board, and that they had seven days from that time to show cause why their blocking charges should be maintained.

And yes, I am aware that Craig Becker's nomination to the NLRB failed to clear a cloture vote in the U.S. Senate, which means that his nomination is, for all intents and purposes, stalled. As it stands right now, only 52 senators wanted the debate to go forward, which is minimalist support at best - and that support can only keep going down, based on some of the writings that Becker has had his name put to in the past. Obama may have no choice but to use a recess appointment if he really wants Becker on the NLRB.


  1. sure would like to see a connection to some of Beckers writings referred to.

  2. As an avid reader and supporter of your blog, let me say this: dude, you need to get over your animus against Becker. 52 Senators wanting debate to move forward is minimalist support? Last I checked, that's a majority. His nomination has been stalled because he's pro-union.

    Moreover, if we were to apply your "anyone affliated with SEIU at some point in time is forever tainted" standard evenly, it would indict many NUHW leaders and volunteers. I don't see why everyone who has ever worked for SEIU should be lumped in with SternBurger and Co. Shit, Sal supported Stern's bid for President back in the 1990s. That doesn't diminish him in my eyes for dissenting against Stern and what he's become over the past few years.

    Becker not being appointed to the NLRB is a loss for working people. There's no other way to spin it.

  3. I can't wait until the NLRB lifts SEIU's phony blocking charges and allow elections to go forward. It's clear that these phony charges are meant to delay the inevitable, many NUHW victories.

    As far as Bekcer is concerned, I don't know that he would necessarily be good for labor. I still believe that if Stern recommended him to the Obama administration that Becker would not side with Stern on all or most labor issues.


  4. Anon @ 0530 - The last time I tried to do that, a whole bunch of people accused me of trying to spread conservacooties. Most of the sites that are highlighting his writings tend to be the "right to work" types of sites, and I had penned out a detailed listing of some of Becker's more interesting takes on union democracy via the secret ballot (short version - he opposes it), as well as his pledge to try to recuse himself from SEIU-related issues for some period of time (impossible to enforce, too many loopholes to plug). However, the trouble that such a listing would stir up with the Becker backers hereabouts makes the benefit of such a listing vanishingly small, and hence not worth the trouble.

    Anon @ 0923 - Becker being denied a seat at the NLRB is a loss for SEIU, and only for SEIU, as it is SEIU and only SEIU who has really been pushing his nomination to NLRB.

    No matter all the previous or current sinecures he may have had, the plain fact of the matter is that Craig Becker is, for all intents and purposes, publicly known as Andy Stern's labor lawyer. Becker was house counsel for SEIU during its preparation to place UHW in trusteeship, stood by quietly while Tyrone Freeman and Annelle Grajeda ran roughshod over the SoCal locals 6434 and 721, and didn't let out one peep of dissent while our rights to representation and democracy were and are being urinated upon from great heights by Andy Stern and his gang of Purple Thugs.

    If that's the kind of person you want representing labor's side on the NLRB, fine. But count me out on that one.

    And it's not like anyone affiliated with SEIU at any time in the past should be rejected just on the basis of that prior affiliation with SEIU - far from it. After all, Sal and his crew were kicked out of SEIU because they WOULDN'T go along with the trail of corruption and slime that flows so freely out of Dupont Circle.

    The now-NUHW leadership saw what was going on, spoke out about it publicly, and got illegally shitcanned for doing so - and Craig Becker meekly went along for the ride.

    On that basis alone, Becker deserves nothing but scorn and ridicule from anyone who gives a rip about union democracy.

    There's plenty of equally qualified candidates for the NLRB who are left-leaning labor lawyers, but who do not have Becker's unrepentant ties to SEIU, or Becker's willingness to forgive and forget the blatant corruption that had to be staring him in the face the whole time he was on Andy Stern's dime.

  5. Do you have evidence to back up your claim that Becker is Andy's "labor lawyer"? I would ask Judy Scott, who is general counsel to SEIU, what she thinks of that. I would also ask Glenn Rothner and Leon Dayen, who were SEIU's lawyers for the UHW trusteeship. Becker is one of many lawyers who works for SEIU, so I fail to see how he's Stern main labor lawyer. I seriously doubt he played a central role in the UHW trusteeship, as that was the work of Rothner and Dayen. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share.

    Now, should Becker and others at SEIU have spoken out against what Stern did and continues to do to UHW? Sure. They're cowards for not doing so. But the rest labor movement hasn't exactly come rushing to the aide of NUHW. If that sad fact serves to condemn the vast majority of the American labor movement in your eyes, I can't say I take issue with you. The American labor movement is pretty weak and NUHW one of the few bright spots. It's sad that more people haven't left SEIU. But while Becker's cowardice with respect to the trusteeship doesn't win him high marks, having him on the NLRB would mean more union friendly NLRB regulations. I'm basing that on articles he's written. If you have evidence to the contrary, again, please share.

    Regarding Becker siding with SEIU in NLRB matters: what makes you think Becker would be able to so easily side with SEIU against NUHW? The Board is thankfully clearning the way for elections, and I don't think there is much Becker could do at this point to stop if he were confirmed to his position. US labor law sucks, but I don't see how one NLRB Board member (out of a total of FIVE) can intervene to fuck up elections for NUHW. He wouldn't have the power unless an appeal came before the entire board, and SEIU has no real legal arguments in that regard.

    Also, what evidence do you have that only SEIU is pushing for Becker? He's also counsel to the AFL, so I'd imagine he's got AFL support as well. If I'm wrong, provide evidence to correct me.

  6. Can anyone tell me if the elections coming up for NUHW are for new healthcare workers that were never organized? or are they simply SEIU members? And if they are SEIU members why is there not more choices on the ballot for the workers to vote for as to what union they want? Is CNA or AFSCME on the ballot? It seems to me that the workers are getting a shame deal and very little democracy if the only two choices are NUHW and SEIU.

  7. I don't disagree, being closely alligned with Andy should taint an appointee. Is SEIU the only labor organization rooting for him? Where are the Steelworkers, IBEW, IAM, AFSCME, Building trades etc. are they playing a role?
    Who are other nominees that are cleaner?

  8. It looks like Trumka wants Becker appointed to the NLRB and wants Obama to use a recess appointment to get it done.


  9. Anon at 10:53 p.m. - Regarding your question as to whether it's been people newly organized or people who are switching out of SEIU, it's been a mixed bag thus far. Doctor's-San Pablo and Kaiser SoCal RN's and Professionals were SEIU-represented, but switched out. SRMH and Sequoia-Portola were newly organized.

    As to the lack of democracy if "only" two choices are presented - you have to remember that these are organizations which much prove that there is interest in organization prior to being put on the ballot, usually through the process of organization cards or some such. You can't just pick-and-choose from a menu of unions (unless of course you live in SEIU world, and then you could pick any union you want so long as it is SEIU). The laws are written such that if a majority of a certain group of people choose one union, then that's it. I believe in Europe you can go a-la-carte with union representation so that there can be three or four different bargaining representatives for any given classification (I may be wrong on that), but doing something like that would result in chaos come contract time.

    Anon @ 3:12 a.m. - As you can see from the 12:50 p.m. comment, it appears that AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka is requesting that Obama push Becker through via a recess appointment. But given the current political environment, is such a maneuver worth the political capital though?

    Anon @ 7:08 p.m. - I base my opposition to Craig Becker on one salient fact, that being that he is closely aligned with Andy Stern and has served quietly as house counsel to SEIU at a time when some decidedly undemocratic activities were being carried out by Stern appointees (as you noted in your comment). For me, that ends the discussion for me right there. There is no amount of rehabilitation or backtracking that can occur on the part of any of the Becker backers that would make me change my mind on the subject. As to some of the articles he has written, some of his views on labor law quite frankly scare the crap out of me, what with his opposition to the use of the secret ballot for union elections (yes, I oppose card check on principle and would prefer the secret ballot to conduct ANY kind of election be it political or union representation - as was the tradition in the old UHW), and his wish for MANDATORY unionization as is the case in some nations in Europe. This information tends to be found on websites that you and others have chastised me for presenting links toward, and as such I decline to do so now lest I be falsely accused of "acting left and thinking right."

    Besides - this isn't a left-right-or-center issue for me. Craig Becker served as counsel to SEIU and Andy Stern. If that isn't enough of a disqualification to sit on a board at which NUHW's very existence may hang in the balance, then I can't help you.

  10. "There's plenty of equally qualified candidates for the NLRB who are left leaning labor lawyers..."

    True. But I have in my hand a letter that over 400 labor lawyers (many left leaning) sent Obama today urging a recess appointment of Becker (and Pearce). And these 400+ signatories were recruited in 24 hours. So it appears that these "other candidates" of which you write have spoken, and they support Becker.

    Funny thing is, the much maligned Glenn Rothner, defender of the UHW trusteeship, is not a signatory to the letter. So much for the theory that Becker's appointment is being pushed solely by SEIU hacks...

  11. Sierra, you haven't cited anything that calls into question Becker's nomination other than guilt by association. Sorry, but that just doesn't cut it. As I mentioned earlier, he'll simply be ONE member of a FIVE member board, so I don't see how his appointment would cause NUHW existence to hang in the balance. Interestingly, NUHW recently put out a press release supporting Becker's nomination:



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