U.S. Chamber: Becker appointment 'contradicts' president's pledge to change Washington

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce slammed the president's plan to appoint Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) while Senate lawmakers are home for recess next week.

That decision, announced Saturday as part of 15 recess appointments President Barack Obama plans to make next week, "disregards the Senate's bipartisan rejection" of Becker and "contradicts the president's claim to change the tone in Washington," said Randel K. Johnson, the chamber's senior vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits.

A handful of business groups have long feared Becker's likely appointment to the NLRB, in part because he is a vocal support of the Employee Free Choice Act -- legislation, better known as "card check," that would make it easier for employees to unionize.

The Chamber is among that bill's chief opponents. In a statement on Saturday, Johnson urged businesses to remain on "red alert for radical changes" -- including card check -- that "could significantly impair the ability of America's job creators to compete."

However, unions and pro-labor forces are celebrating Becker's appointment this afternoon, noting his new place on the NLRB means the panel finally has a quorum -- something it has lacked since December 2007.

Soon, the NLRB can resume reviewing labor disputes without looming threat of an indefinite shut down, mandated by the Supreme Court. But that fact has hardly satisfied the Chamber, which signaled it feared Becker's impact on both the labor panel and the businesses who deal with it regularly.

“This is the first time since 1993 that the Chamber has opposed a nominee to the NLRB," Johnson said. "The Chamber’s opposition is based on Mr. Becker’s prolific writings, which suggest a radical view of labor law that flies in the face of established precedent and case law and is far outside the mainstream.”