American Workers Forced to Pay for Union Organizing Drives
Clinton NLRB tramples on U.S. Supreme Court precedents

January/February 2000 Issue

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a brazen attack on workers' rights and the rule of law, Bill Clinton's union-lackey National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has decreed that union officials may force employees to pay for union organizing drives as a condition of employment.

"This ruling is an abomination," said Reed Larson, President of the Foundation. "It stabs at the heart of the principle of voluntarism for which the National Right to Work Foundation fights."

Organizing used to expand Big Labors power over workers

The Board's precedent-setting decision forces the 7.8 million American employees who work in compulsory union shops to pay union organizing expenses or lose their jobs.

Organizing expenses often exceed 20% of a union's budget. That money is then turned over to union operatives who spread the net of compulsory unionism -- often through the use of bloody violence or extortion.

"With this ruling, the Clinton NLRB has thumbed its nose at the Supreme Court, worker freedom, and the rule of law," said Larson. "That's why Foundation attorneys are already appealing the ruling."

Labor law experts agree that the NLRB's decision directly violates previous rulings of the Supreme Court. Under the Court's ruling in Communications Workers v. Beck, a case won by Foundation attorneys, employees may not be forced to pay for union political activities and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining, contract negotiation, or grievance adjustment. In other Foundation-won precedents Ellis v. Railway Clerks and Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Association, the High Court determined that union organizing expenses were clearly unrelated to collective bargaining, and thus employees who are not members of the union could not legally be forced to financially support organizing drives.

NLRB ditches justice in favor of Big Labor agenda

In its scofflaw ruling, the Board attacked the freedom of grocery store employees Phillip Mulder, Charles Buck, and Leon Gibbons, who originally filed the case (with the help of Foundation attorneys) against the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in Michigan. The NLRB later consolidated the cases of many other Foundation-assisted employees from around the United States.

For years, the NLRB refused to produce an official ruling on the critical organizing issue. Mulder v. UFCW and other similar cases have languished in the bowels of the NLRB bureaucracy for more than ten years.

However, Foundation attorneys asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue several writs of mandamus (compelling actions) against the NLRB. This forced the Board at last to face the union organizing issue in the Foundation case Pirlott v. Teamsters Local 75.

In a stunning display of underhandedness, as reported in the November/December 1999 issue of Foundation Action, the NLRB remanded the critical organizing issue to an administrative law judge for "further record development."

"It was very clear that the NLRB had no intention of ruling on the organizing issue in Pirlott because of strong evidence in the trial record that would have forced them to side with the workers," said Larson. "Rather, they were waiting for a case that would possibly provide some cover for them to hand Big Labor increased power."

Workers' rights desecrated by NLRB ruling

As a result of the NLRB's shell game, the Board avoided the organizing issue in Pirlott. But two weeks later, the Board ruled on Mulder v. UFCW -- a case that included testimony by union-sponsored "labor experts" that organizing was a vital part of the collective bargaining process.

One "expert" professor's testimony seemed to contradict her prior writings, in which she explained that union bosses organize in pursuit of their own political aggrandizement and power, monetary self-interest, and for a "social idealism" that workers of the world should unite in collectives.

But the NLRB totally ignored these damning facts in its star-chamber deliberations.

Despite the fact that the U.S Supreme Court has ruled numerous times that union organizing is not chargeable to non-members, the NLRB disobeyed Supreme Court rulings such as Beck and Ellis to strengthen Big Labor's ability to forcibly organize America's workers. Only NLRB Member J. Robert Brame, III, dissented.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO's top lawyer chortled to the media that the NLRB's ruling is "consistent with the AFL-CIO's position."

Foundation attorneys work to overturn obscene ruling

After reading the NLRB's atrocious ruling in Mulder, Foundation attorneys filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That appeal was then transferred to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit for consolidation with a related case, where it awaits action.

"Now that this key case is out of the NLRB, it has a prayer of receiving a fair legal hearing," said Larson.


Home | About Your Rights | Request Free Legal Help
Cases and Law | Right to Work States and Laws | Contact Us
News Releases | Free Newsletter | About the Foundation
Give to the Foundation