**Washington, DC (January 22, 2007)** – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, two Schreiber Foods employees from Green Bay, Wisconsin, persuaded a federal appellate court to order the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to rule in a long-delayed case the workers filed in 1989. Having refrained from formal union membership, the workers are challenging union officials’ use of their forced union dues for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, particularly union organizing costs.
Union organizing expenditures often comprise 20 to 40 percent of a union’s budget, and nonmembers have bristled at the notion of their compulsory dues being used to force even more workers into unions.
The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued the extraordinary order, mandating that the NLRB must rule in the case by January 30, 2007. The case – originally filed by David and Sherry Pirlott 18 years ago against Teamsters Local 75 in Wisconsin – is the oldest of scores of cases in which Foundation-assisted employees are trying to reclaim their forced union dues used for non-bargaining activity.
The NLRB, which has long been plagued by what critics have called political in-fighting and institutional bias favoring compulsory unionism, faced similar appellate court scrutiny in the Pirlott case in 1998. But rather than decide the case that had long been pending on the docket in Washington, DC, the Board sent the case back to an administrative law judge for further fact finding. The case returned to Washington, DC, in 2001 where it has since collected dust awaiting a decision.
The Pirlotts’ writ of mandamus petition, filed in June 2006, pointed out the Board’s egregious and unjustifiable delay in issuing a decision. The appellate court ruling grants the writ and denies the NLRB’s request for yet another extension of time – mandating that the NLRB issue a “judicially reviewable” ruling. Accordingly, the appellate court ruling forecloses the Board from once again shuffling the case around the NRLB bureaucracy in another attempt to shirk its duties.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “When asked to defend the rights of employees who labor under forced unionism, this agency has been AWOL all too often. And the status quo usually benefits union officials, not workers.”
Under the Supreme Court's rulings in *Communications Workers v. Beck* and *Ellis v. Railway Clerks*, cases brought by employees represented by 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.