News Release

Blacklisting Rule: Obama Makes First Major Payback to Big Labor

Labor Secretary handed sweeping new power to blacklist union targets, while workers remain in the dark about right to refrain from union membership

Washington, DC (January 30, 2009) – President Barack Obama issued two decrees today intended to corral millions more American workers into forced unionism while blacklisting non-union employees from working on taxpayer funded projects.

“After spending more than a billion dollars in forced union dues to get Obama elected, the union bosses have received their first major payoff – two executive orders intended to grease the rails for coercive union organizing, give the Secretary of Labor the power to blacklist union-targeted employers and employees, and keep workers in the dark about their rights to refrain from union membership,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Obama’s two executive orders serve one basic goal: to seize more forced dues revenue to fund Big Labor’s political agenda.”

Obama repealed Executive Order 13201 signed by President George W. Bush which had helped ensure that employees of federal contractors were informed of their rights under the U.S. Supreme Court case Communication Workers v. Beck (1988). Won by attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation, Beck held that private-sector employees may be compelled to pay certain union dues, but may not be compelled to pay any dues or fees earmarked for union politics, lobbying, and other non-bargaining activities.

President Obama included the revocation of Beck rights notices in an executive order advertising, and essentially endorsing, the formation of unions under a theory (long discredited by academic research) that forcing employees into union collectives will somehow prevent “substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce.”

The executive order also purports to give the Secretary of Labor the authority to determine what will be required by the notice, the authority to investigate violations, to hold hearings, and the power to punish violators of all federal labor laws mentioned in the notice. In effect, the Secretary of Labor would become an additional judge, jury, and executioner of federal labor laws with respect to federal contractors. Most importantly, the Secretary would determine whether a contractor would be fired by the federal government (apparently where the contractor has not even been found to have violated any laws by the law enforcement body of jurisdiction). Even President Bill Clinton stopped short of attempting to give the Secretary of Labor a "blacklisting" power, which is almost certainly unlawful.

Another new order effectively bars federal contractors from communicating truthful information about unionization to their employees.

“It’s disgusting to see this blatant payoff to Big Labor only two weeks into Obama’s term,” continued Mix. “Today, President Obama has sent an ominous message to the 93 percent of private sector workers in America who, for whatever reasons, have chosen not to unionize: You’re not welcome here.”

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The executive orders can be read here and here

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, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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