Former NLRB member returns to AFL-CIO

Craig Becker, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is returning to the AFL-CIO.

Becker will be general counsel to the nation’s largest labor federation, joining AFL-CIO General Counsel Lynn Rhinehart in leading the labor group’s legal office. Becker was recess-appointed to the NLRB in 2010 by President Obama and came under heavy fire from Republican lawmakers and business groups for his ties to labor.

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In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Becker is “a brilliant lawyer” and will work well with Rhinehart to protect workers’ interests.

“Craig Becker is a brilliant lawyer and creative thinker with deep experience in labor law, litigation and organizing; his combination of legal acumen and experience on the ground is simply unmatched,” Trumka said. “The strengths of these two extraordinary lawyers, Becker and Rhinehart, are a perfect complement, and together they will lead a powerhouse legal program to protect and promote the interests of working men and women."

“I am really excited about Craig joining the AFL-CIO as co-general counsel,” Rhinehart said in a statement. “He’s a person of incredible intellect, experience and integrity, and with his leadership, we will be able to expand our work in crucially important areas at a crucially important time.”

Becker is a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law School and will begin work at the AFL-CIO on July 1.

A former Yale Law Journal editor, Becker has been an associate general counsel to both the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. He has argued labor and employment law cases in several federal appeals courts and before the Supreme Court.

In 2009, Obama nominated Becker to serve on the NLRB. Becker failed to clear the 60-vote threshold that was needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster in a Senate vote in February of 2010, but the next month, Obama recess-appointed Becker to the labor board.

At the NLRB, Becker was a key vote in December 2011 for a rule that would speed up union elections. The NLRB has since suspended implementation of that regulation, which was opposed by business groups, after it was struck down by a federal judge last week.