WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO announced Tuesday that Craig Becker, a former appointee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), will be returning to the labor federation as co-general counsel, helping guide the AFL-CIO's legal strategies on behalf of unions and workers.
A significant pickup for the AFL-CIO, Becker frequently sided with unions in his time at the NLRB, the federal agency tasked with enforcing labor law for businesses and their workforces. In particular, Becker, as part of the left-leaning majority, put forth new workplace rules that infuriated business groups, and also issued case decisions considered friendly to unions.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement that Becker would be leading a "powerhouse" legal team at the federation, working alongside current general counsel Lynn Rhinehart. "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.
Becker, who's now a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center, sat on the NLRB at a time when it was widely praised by the labor community and assailed by Republicans in Congress as well as business trade groups.
Becker was part of the majority that crafted new rules to streamline the union election process and also require businesses to hang placards informing workers of their rights under federal labor law. Proponents described these moves as commonsense reforms that would level the playing field between workers and management, while businesses claimed they gave an upper hand to unions. Both of those rules have hit legal snags in court.
Typifying many hardline conservatives' feelings toward Becker, Michelle Malkin called him "the latest White House gift to Big Labor."
Becker was nominated to the labor board by President Barack Obama in early 2010, though his nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans. He served as a recess appointment on the board until his term ended late last year.
This won't be Becker's first posting at the AFL-CIO. Before sitting on the NLRB, Becker served as counsel to the union federation, as well as to the Service Employees International Union. He's scheduled to start at the AFL-CIO on July 1.
CORRECTION: This post originally misidentified the Georgetown University Law Center as the Georgetown University Law School.