WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today wrote to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member and former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) official Craig Becker to inquire about his involvement in union intimidation efforts. The letter sent to Becker comes after the SEIU’s “Contract Campaign Manual” was made public. The handbook tells union members to purposefully try to damage their employers’ reputations by coming up with allegations against their employers and managers and to even break the law to gain leverage in contract negotiations.
In the letter, Hatch writes that, “the manual explicitly advises union members to engage in tactics designed to attack the reputation of an employer as well as its managers and to purposefully damage an employer’s relationship with vendors and customers. In addition, it advises employees to uncover “dirt” on management officials and publicize the information in order to obtain leverage in contract negotiations. The manual even goes so far as to encourage union members to disobey certain laws when it serves the union’s purposes.”
This is not the first time Hatch has tried to get answers from Becker regarding his involvement with disconcerting union intimidation tactics. During a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last year, Hatch repeatedly pressed Becker regarding his involvement in similar tactics such as union corporate campaigns, but Becker refused to address Hatch’s concerns.
In today’s letter, Hatch asked Becker several specific questions regarding his involvement with the SEIU manual, including inquiring about his involvement in drafting and implementing the instructions in the manual, if he’s ever instructed clients to break the law, and if he believes the tactics detailed in the guidebook are appropriate actions for union members to take during contract negotiations.
Below is the full text of Hatch’s letter to Becker:
September 12, 2011
The Honorable Craig Becker
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20570
Dear Member Becker:
I am writing to inquire about your role in drafting controversial documents distributed by your former employer, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Given the Senate’s oversight role over the NLRB as well as your pending re-nomination to the Board, I hope that you will give prompt and complete answers to the questions presented.
According to several recent news reports, some controversial documents have come to light in the course of SEIU’s current litigation with Sudexo, Inc., including a “Contract Campaign Manual,” which provides details regarding the strategies employed by the union during organizing and contract campaigns. Among other things, the manual explicitly advises union members to engage in tactics designed to attack the reputation of an employer as well as its managers and to purposefully damage an employer’s relationship with vendors and customers. In addition, it advises employees to uncover “dirt” on management officials and publicize the information in order to obtain leverage in contract negotiations. The manual even goes so far as to encourage union members to disobey certain laws when it serves the union’s purposes.
During your initial confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in July 2009, I asked you many questions, both in person and in writing, regarding the use of “corporate campaigns” on the part of unions and organizers. At no point in any of your answers did you disclose your opinion about the propriety of “corporate campaign” tactics or any information regarding your role in advising union members that engage in these tactics. Due to these recent revelations, I believe more information is necessary.
Therefore, with regard to recently-publicized “Contract Campaign Manual,” I have the following questions:
1) What role, if any, did you play in the drafting or approval of the manual?
2) Have you ever advised any client to engage in the questionable tactics
outlined in the manual, including tactics specifically designed to personally
embarrass or intimidate employers or managers, jeopardize employer
relationships with customers and vendors, and purposefully disrupt
production in the workplace?
3) Have you ever advised any client that it is permissible to break the law in
the course of an organizing or contract campaign?
4) In your view, are the campaign tactics detailed in the SEIU manual
appropriate actions for union members to take in the midst of organizing
campaigns or contract negotiations?
I am deeply concerned about the current direction of the NLRB. While I do not doubt your competency or your talents, I believe the publication of these documents further calls into question your objectivity in addressing and adjudicating matters dealing with labor-management relations and union representation. Once again, I hope you will shed more light on these issues by providing prompt and complete answers to these questions.
Thank you for your attention regarding this matter.
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator