Unions Sue to Stop Bush’s Beck Order

Complaining that President Bush’s executive order enforcing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Communications Workers v. Beck imposes “substantial administrative burdens” on businesses, three unions and a federally funded union-established corporation have filed suit against the Bush Administration. The union suit seeks to prevent unionized employees of federal contractors from learning about their rights to be nonmembers and reclaim their forced union dues spent for politics. The United Auto Workers, along with the UAW-Labor Employment & Training Corp. and two affiliates of the Office & Prof’l Employees Int’l Union, filed the suit in May in the U.S. Dist. Court for D.C. against Sec. of Labor Elaine Chao, Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and several other Administration officials.

Bush’s Executive Order 13201, signed on Feb. 17, requires federal contractors to post a standard workplace notice informing employees of their rights under Beck, a case won by Nat’l Right to Work Fdn. in 1988 establishing that employees cannot be compelled to formally join a union or pay dues spent for politics or any other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. The executive order affects a small segment of the workforce compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment, as it only requires companies with federal contracts to inform workers of their Beck rights.

NRTW attorneys are preparing to intervene in defense of the executive order on behalf of employees. “Afraid that they would face a grassroots revolt, union bosses don’t want working Americans to find out that they can stop funding Big Labor’s massive political machine,” said Stefan Gleason of the NRTW Legal Def. Fdn. “This multi-union lawsuit demonstrates the total hypocrisy of union officials’ claims that they are genuinely concerned about employee rights.” [NRTW Media Release 6/5/01]