When former SEIU Associate General Counsel Craig Becker left his post at the National Labor Relations Board in December 2011, he quickly segued into a cushy job as the AFL-CIO’s co-general counsel. Likewise, a year later, former management lawyer Brian Hayes exited the board after his two-year term and immediately landed a plum position representing management with one of the nation’s prominent labor law firms.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. In 1935, Congress established the NLRB as a body made up solely of “three impartial Government members” to represent the public interest in labor disputes. An impartial NLRB was seen as crucial because of the contentious nature of labor relations in the United States.
But 78 years later, NLRB members on both sides of the labor-management debate use the post as a stepping-stone to bigger things. The damage, of course, is decisions made while on the board could well be altered by members’ desire to increase their marketability after their service.