Bush Labor Board Boosts Union “Corporate Campaigns,” Whitewashes Clinton-era Policy Favoring Firings of Workers Who Won’t Pay fo
**Washington, DC (January 30, 2007)** – Forced to rule by an extremely rare court order, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) let stand a controversial Clinton NLRB ruling that approved the firing of workers who refuse to pay for union organizing campaigns. The ruling came in a long-languishing case initiated in 1989 by two cheese processing plant workers against Teamsters Local 75 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with free legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation.
Although David and Sherry Pirlott, employees of Schreiber Foods, won part of their case on technical grounds, the NLRB refused to enter a judgment barring union officials from compelling the payment of union dues that are spent for union organizing. Accordingly, nonunion members nationwide may be forced as a condition of employment to pay for recruitment of new union members and to fund highly aggressive corporate campaigns intended to bully companies and employees into unionization. Union organizing expenditures often comprise as much as 40 and even up to 60 percent of a union’s budget, and nonmembers bristle at the use of their forced dues to corral even more workers into unions.
In a blistering dissent, Member Peter Schaumber scorned as “indefensible” the NLRB majority’s decision not to reverse a controversial Clinton-NLRB ruling that violated rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schaumber also noted that the NLRB was reneging on its earlier representations to the U.S. Supreme Court. The agency had argued against U.S. Supreme Court review of its Clinton-era *Meijer* decision on the grounds that the NLRB would have the opportunity to reevaluate its position in *Schreiber Foods*. By now refusing to follow through and either reaffirm or overturn *Meijer*, Schaumber noted, the NLRB “effectively insulates the *Meijer* decision from appellate and Supreme Court review for the foreseeable future.”
“David and Sherry Pirlott have waited nearly two decades only to be slapped in the face by the agency charged with protecting them,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “This is justice delayed, and justice denied. Not only did it take two lawsuits against the agency and over 17 years to extract a ruling, but now the Board thumbs its nose again at binding U.S. Supreme Court precedents. The handling of this case is an embarrassment to all federal executive agencies.”
Foundation attorneys persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to order the NLRB to rule in the *Schreiber Foods* case in just the third known mandamus order ever issued against the Board since its creation in 1935. The Pirlotts’ case was the oldest of scores of cases in which Right to Work Foundation-assisted employees are trying to reclaim their forced union dues used for non-bargaining activity. Foundation attorneys are planning a vigorous appeal.
Under the Supreme Court's rulings in *Communications Workers v. Beck* and *Ellis v. Railway Clerks*, cases brought by employees represented by Right to Work Foundation attorneys, workers may not be lawfully forced to pay for any union activities unrelated to collective bargaining, contract negotiation, or grievance adjustment such as union organizing, politics, extra-unit litigation, and member-only programs.