NLRB member Craig Becker defended PATCO strikers against Reagan

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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It turns out controversial National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) member Craig Becker’s pro-union advocacy dates back to an important moment that would redefine labor relations in this nation.

On August 3, 1981, President Ronald Reagan, who had been president of the Screen Actors Guild, warned members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) that they were “in violation of the law and if they do not report for work within 48 hours they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”

Ultimately, 11,359 striking air traffic controllers were fired.

In 1984, Becker was one of the advising counsel on an unsuccessful appeal which essentially argued the striking PATCO workers should not have been fired because they were confused about the grace period.

Though he was later recess appointed by President Obama, Becker’s 2010 nomination to the NLRB’s board was initially rejected by the Senate over concerns about his work for the SEIU and the AFL-CIO. His involvement in the PATCO case did not come up during the hearing.

Becker is now embroiled with controversy regarding the NLRB ruling to prevent Boeing from building a plant in South Carolina — a huge favor to labor unions. Clearly, he is still just as much an advocate for Big Labor as he was in 1984.

Matt K. Lewis