Vanishing Notions of Democracy

May 14, 2009

The Wall Street Journal points out that Andy Stern may have found a way to strengthen big labor without passing card check.  The President’s recent appointment to the NLRB, the panel tasked with enforcing fairness in union elections, is the SEIU's Associate General Counsel Craig Becker, a strong backer of giving unions more power over companies in elections. Some Becker background from the WSJ:

In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, he explained that traditional notions of democracy should not apply in union elections.

Becker straight from the law review, my bold:

"this Article illuminates fundamental differences between the systems of political and labor representation. In light of these differences, it concludes that employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees' election of representatives."

Yikes!  Back to the WSJ:

He wrote that employers should be barred from attending NLRB hearings about elections, and from challenging election results even amid evidence of union misconduct. He believes elections should be removed from work sites and held on "neutral grounds," or via mail ballots. Employers should also be barred from "placing observers at the polls to challenge ballots."

More extraordinary, Mr. Becker advocated a new "body of campaign rules" that would severely limit the ability of employers to argue against unionization. He argued that any meeting a company holds that involves a "captive audience" ought to be grounds for overturning an election.

And back to Becker in the law review:

"It is but a short step to the realization that all employer speech to employees during working hours, at the workplace, is speech to a captive audience."

Becker's Senate confirmation hearing is expected in the coming weeks.

h/t LaborPains for the link to the law review article and alert on the quote.

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