Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, asked National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Craig Becker on Tuesday if he helped the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) write its “intimidation manual.”
“According to several recent news reports, some controversial documents have come to light in the course of SEIU’s current litigation with Sudexo, Inc., [sic] including a ‘Contract Campaign Manual,’ which provides details regarding the strategies employed by the union during organizing and contract campaigns,” Hatch wrote to Becker. “Among other things, the manual explicitly advises union members to engage in tactics designed to attack the reputation of an employer as well as its managers and to purposefully damage an employer’s relationship with vendors and customers.”
“In addition, it advises employees to uncover ‘dirt’ on management officials and publicize the information in order to obtain leverage in contract negotiations,” Hatch continued. “The manual even goes so far as to encourage union members to disobey certain laws when it serves the union’s purposes.”
During Becker’s Senate confirmation hearings, Hatch asked the former top SEIU and AFL-CIO lawyer about his “corporate campaign” tactics. The manual, which was uncovered recently, never came up. Hatch said that he thinks more answers are needed so the public can rest assured Becker isn’t misusing his position of government authority to benefit his previous employers.
Questions Hatch asked Becker on Tuesday included: “What role, if any, did you play in the drafting or approval of the manual?”
“Have you ever advised any client to engage in the questionable tactics outlined in the manual, including tactics specifically designed to personally embarrass or intimidate employers or managers, jeopardize employer relationships with customers and vendors, and purposefully disrupt production in the workplace?”
“Have you ever advised any client that it is permissible to break the law in the course of an organizing or contract campaign?”
“In your view, are the campaign tactics detailed in the SEIU manual appropriate actions for union members to take in the midst of organizing campaigns or contract negotiations?” (RELATED: Congressman: Dismantle the NLRB, give its duties to the Justice Dept.)
NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland wouldn’t answer those questions for The Daily Caller. “Craig Becker plans to respond directly to Sen. Hatch,” Cleeland said in an email. “We do not have a timeline.”
Hatch didn’t give Becker a deadline by which to respond.
Becker was never confirmed by the Senate, so President Barack Obama recess-appointed him. His recess appointment ends at the beginning of 2012.
Vincent Vernuccio of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the group that originally uncovered the SEIU intimidation playbook, said the union’s tactics are disturbing. “The SEIU intimidation manual shows how far unions will go to get new dues paying members,” Vernuccio said in an email to TheDC. “The tactics harm workers as much as businesses. The goal of corporate campaigns is to take away the right of employees to a secret ballot election and open the door to union intimidation and coercion via a card check election.”
“The methods described in SEIU’s ‘Contract Campaign Manual’ are reprehensible and should not be condoned by anyone let alone one of the highest labor judges in the land,” Vernuccio adds.
Republicans have called for the NLRB to be disbanded, or at least reformed dramatically. Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government told TheDC that Becker’s conflicts of interest are an indication as to how the Board has become more about politics and less about enforcing the National Labor Relations Act.
“Craig Becker is the primary piece of evidence as to why the NLRB needs to be systemically changed to avoid political manipulation by people on either side of the aisle,” Manning said. “SEIU has become one of the pre-eminent far-left advocates that drove Obama’s 2008 election. Becker’s involvement in this political takeover is just one more reason why the Senate rightfully refused to approve his nomination on a bipartisan basis.”
Conservatives aren’t the only ones who’ve called for the NLRB to be disbanded or shut down. In 2007, during former President George W. Bush’s administration, the AFL-CIO marched on the NLRB’s headquarters and demanded the Board be shut down for being what it considered too anti-union.