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'Red alert' on pro-union advocates appointed to NLRB

May 1, 2010
by root
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WASHINGTON, D.C.- As if nursing home administrators didn't have enough to worry about with healthcare reform.

In March, President Obama bypassed the Senate and appointed organized labor advocates Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Some in the long-term care field feel that Becker's and Pearce's appointment will make it easier for unions to organize and allow “card check” to replace secret balloting and exclude employers from the entire unionizing process.

Congress did not vote on Becker's first nomination by Obama last April and it was sent back to the President. Obama renominated Becker in January of this year. Congress once again, on a bipartisan basis, did not approve the nomination. On March 27, while Congress was in recess, the President appointed both Becker and Pearce. Because they were appointed during a recess, the nominees avoided a Senate confirmation vote.

“This recess appointment disregards the Senate's bipartisan rejection of Craig Becker's nomination to the NLRB,” says Randel K. Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “Overriding the will of the Senate and providing this special interest payback contradicts the President's claim to change the tone in Washington. The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America's job creators to compete.”

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This is the first time since 1993 that the Chamber has opposed a nominee to the NLRB.

“The Chamber's opposition is based on Mr. Becker's prolific writings, which suggest a radical view of labor law that flies in the face of established precedent and case law and is far outside the mainstream,” Johnson says.

Becker served as associate general counsel to both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Pearce has been a labor lawyer his entire career, according to the White House.

One other significant change in the labor movement occurred last month when longtime SEIU President Andy Stern announced his retirement. As the nation's largest representative of unionized healthcare workers, any redirection in SEIU's objectives as a result of new leadership could have lasting implications throughout the field of long-term care. (For video of Stern's retirement announcement, visit http://www.ltlmagazine.com/SternRetirement.)

What do you think of these two nominations? Let the editor know at mhrehocik@vendomegrp.com.

Letter to the Editor

I received the March issue of Long-Term Living as well as the magazine's special DESIGN/Environments for Aging supplement. You should be very proud of the quality of your publications. Their graphics and content are consistently thought-provoking. But your DESIGN/Environments for Aging issue went even further; it was inspiring.

I was pleased to see that one of the communities with which we work, Cascades Verdae, was recognized with a certificate of merit. It's hard to “see” quality of care. But in this case the superb design reflects their commitment to service. Communities like these are transforming the way we think about senior housing and even skilled nursing facilities.

Thank you,

David J. Stern

Marketing Manager,

QuietCare, GE HealthCare

New York, NY

Long-Term Living 2010 May;59(5):10

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