With just 52 votes to end debate and several Democratic defections on efforts to end debate and move the Becker nomination to a vote, efforts to seat Becker, who has provided legal counself to two Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO, as well as helped write federal card check legislation, were dead in the water.
As the NLRB could be a key vehicle for the Obama administration to create a more union-friendly environment, the Becker defeat wasn't the only problem they face on this board. With three of five seats currently vacant, a case expected to be heard by the Supreme Court this year will question the legality of decisions by a board with just two members. If the high court overturns their decision-making power, then it would be a major setback to pro-union efforts.
The Becker defeat this year, followed by last year's failure to pass card check legislation, could be troubling signs for both labor unions and Democrats. If their efforts to seat a Democratic President and Congressional majority have produced no noteworthy gains in the power of labor unions, then one has to wonder how this will affect their committment to support Democratic campaign efforts in a year when Democrats will need all the help they can get.