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Craig Becker
Craig Becker (Official photo)

The AFL-CIO has named former National Labor Relations Board member Craig Becker as its co-general counsel. Becker, a labor lawyer reviled by the right, was one of President Obama's first recess appointments in March 2010, his nomination having been blocked (of course) by Senate Republicans. As Steven Greenhouse describes the opposition at the time:

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, wrote a letter opposing Mr. Becker, calling him “probably the most controversial nominee that I have seen in a long time.”

In opposing the nomination, Senate Republicans wrote to President Obama that Mr. Becker, a former law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Chicago, “could not be viewed as impartial, unbiased or objective” in labor board cases.

Republicans and business groups repeatedly attacked a law review article that he had written that said employers should not have a voice in unionization elections. But in Congressional testimony, Mr. Becker said that those were his personal views and that as a labor board member he would follow the letter of the law.

Becker was "controversial," i.e. opposed vociferously by Republicans, for believing that workers should have some power in the workplace. As compared with NLRB members not controversial in the eyes of Republicans such as Terence Flynn, under investigation for leaking confidential information.

A visiting professor at Georgetown University Law School since his NLRB term ended in December, Becker had been associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO and the SEIU prior to his stint at the National Labor Relations Board. He will be co-general counsel with current AFL-CIO general counsel Lynn Rhinehart. While Republican former NLRB members routinely go to work for business, Republicans can be expected to see Becker's return to union work as somehow confirming all the worst things they said about him at the time of his nomination.

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