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He's Sticking to the Union
If the Republicans in Congress thought Craig Becker was too pro-union before, it's easy to imagine what they're thinking now. In May the AFL-CIO named Becker its cogeneral counsel, and that's about as pro-union as you can be.
Becker, a strong litigator who has argued labor and employment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and in nearly every federal court of appeals, will join longtime AFL-CIO general counsel Lynn Rhinehart on July 1. The new coGC is a former embattled member of the National Labor Relations Board and currently a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
At press time Becker says no decisions have been made on how he and Rhinehart will divide their duties. "But it's a challenging time," he says, "and I'm sure two heads will be better than one."
Asked if he will become involved with NLRB issues now before the courts, Becker says he has to analyze the two-year ethical restrictions placed on former board members. He knows they bar him, for example, from appearing personally before the board or from trying to influence board members, but says he is unsure about court appearances.
What he can do is offer his depth of experience to the federation. "I bring a lot of different perspectives," Becker says. "I've represented a number of different unions, both public and private, I've been an academic at three different law schools, and I've worked in public service. Hopefully, that combination will bring something to the AFL-CIO."
In a statement, Richard Trumka, the federation's president, called Becker "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 continued: "The strengths of these two extraordinary lawyers, Becker and Rhinehart, are a perfect complement, and together they will lead a powerhouse legal program to protect and promote the interests of working men and women."