Appeals Court Upholds Bush Order on Forced Union Dues

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on April 23 upheld President George W. Bush’s Executive Orderrequiring federal contractors to post notices informing employees that they cannot be compelled to join a union or pay union dues spent for partisan politics or other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.   

The 2-1 decision overturns a previous ruling from the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia that invalidated the President’s Executive Order.  In addition to defending the order as amicus curiae in the case, the National Right to Work Foundation had called upon the Bush Administration to appeal the District Court’s original decision and delivered over 100,000 signed grassroots petitions urging President Bush to defend his Executive Order from union attack.

“This ruling is a step toward informing employees they have the right not to be shaken down to pay for union political activities,” stated Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.  “No employee should be forced to fund a political agenda they abhor as a job condition.”

Signed on February 17, 2001, Executive Order 13201 would affect a segment of the 12 million American employees compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment, as it requires companies with federal contracts to inform workers of their rights under the Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Communications Workers v. Beck.  Bush’s father issued a similar Executive Order in April of 1992 that was immediately revoked at the request of union officials when President Clinton took office in 1993.  

In January 2002, U.S. Dist. Judge Henry H. Kennedy (D.C., Clinton) enjoined the implementation of the President’s directive on the grounds that the action was preempted by Congress  — despite the fact that Bush’s Executive Order only seeks to enforce the Supreme Court’s interpretation of congressionally enacted law.  In May 2001, a group of unions filed the case, known as UAW-Labor Employment and Training Corporation et al. v. Elaine Chao et al. [NRTWLDF, 4/23/03]