WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 8, 2001) – In a ruling that is likely to be appealed, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia struck down a pro-worker Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush that banned union-only contracts, or project labor agreements (PLAs), on federally funded construction projects.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the dramatic ruling yesterday, marking the first Executive Order of Bush that has been struck down.
“PLAs amount to extortion – union officials demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or causing other disruptions,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
“This ruling protects a scheme that bilks taxpayers out of millions of dollars and deprives employees of their basic right to choose whether or not to affiliate with a union.”
Under union-only PLAs, contracts on government-funded construction projects are awarded exclusively to contractors who agree to force compulsory unionism on their employees. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; force their employees to pay union dues; use exclusive union hiring halls; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.
The ruling could have a disastrous effect on the massive Wilson Bridge construction project on Interstate 495, as Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening has vowed to use the controversial PLAs.
In their “Friend of the Court” brief at the trial court level, Foundation attorneys argued that President Bush acted within his constitutional authority by issuing Executive Order 13202 banning union-only contracts. If the Bush Administration appeals the court’s decision, Foundation attorneys stand ready to devote even more legal resources in defense of the order.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.