Backdoor Card Check

The Craig Becker nomination to the National Labor Relations Board has a bigger impact on forced unionism than most people realize. The Wall Street Journal is an exception -- they know the impact he can have on millions of Americans who do not want to be forced to join a union: Arlen Specter's party switch has renewed the debate over the legislative prospects for "card check," which would effectively eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections. But Big Labor might not even need card check if Craig Becker has his way. Mr. Becker is one of two recent National Labor Relations Board appointments by President Obama. The five-member NLRB supervises union elections, investigates labor practices and, most important, issues rulings that interpret the National Labor Relations Act. Mr. Becker, who is currently the associate general counsel at Andy Stern's Service Employees International Union, is all for giving unions more power over companies in elections. Only he's not sure he needs to wait for Congress. Current law on organizing provides advantages and restrictions for both sides. Employers are required to provide union reps with a list of employees and their addresses. Union organizers can visit employees at home, but companies cannot. Organizers can also make promises to employees (such as obtaining raises), which employers cannot. Companies can argue their position at a work site up to 24 hours before an election, but they are barred from coercing employees. Both sides get a seat at the table during NLRB hearings about the scope of an election or complaints about how it was conducted. Mr. Becker has other ideas. In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, he explained that traditional notions of democracy should not apply in union elections.