Seems as though the fight over the method by which employees will select (or have thrust upon them) union representation has taken a little detour.  We all know by now that the much ballyhooed and completely misnamed Employee Free Choice Act is stalled in Congress.  Despite my predictions to the contrary, the thing just does not seem to move.

According to the Washington Wire, a blog of the Wall Street Journal, which you can find at the Senate is now fighting over one or the President’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board.  Craig Becker has served as an associate general counsel to both the SEIU and the AFL-CIO.  He and Mark Pearce were the choices of the Democrats to fill two of the three vacant NLRB seats.  Brian Hayes a former Republican Senate staffer is the choice of the Republicans for the third.  All three were approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chaired by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.  Mr. Pearce and Mr. Hayes were unanimously approved and Mr. Becker was approved by a 15-8 vote.  All three will should now go to the Senate floor for confirmation.

But not so fast.  Seems several business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business among others oppose the nomination of Mr. Becker.  So, Senator John McCain placed a “hold” on Mr. Becker’s nomination blocking a vote on confirmation in the full Senate.

How come you might ask is there so much opposition to Mr. Becker and not Mr. Pearce, also a choice of the Democrats?  Well that is where the EFCA comes in.  Mr. Becker has a history of written work.  These business organizations and presumably Senator McCain (or at least his staff) have read that written work and are troubled, suggesting that it indicates that Mr. Becker might try to do by NLRB decision what the Democrats have not been able to do by legislation, namely do away with secret ballot election.  According to the Washington Wire “The business group [the U.S. Chamber of Commerce] says [Mr.] Becker’s written positions have been well outside the mainstream and they fear he’d disrupt the “delicate balance” in current labor law to disadvantage employers.”  Presumably the nomination will eventually go through, despite the hold and Mr. Becker and the rest of the Board will be able to vote to change long standing NLRB procedures for conducting elections.

So tell me again where the free choice is in all this?