Labor Board moving to negate Supreme Court’s restrictions on union bosses’ power to force workers to pay for union politics
Washington, DC (February 11, 2013) – Today, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to order the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to suspend further action in a case that expanded union bosses' powers to charge nonmember workers for union political lobbying.
The petition was filed in the wake of the court's ruling last month invalidating President Barack Obama's controversial purported "recess appointments" to the Board. The court held President Obama could not constitutionality make those appointments without U.S. Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief jointly with the Landmark Legal Foundation in the case.
As a result, since at least January 3, 2012, the Board has lacked a quorum as required by a U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in 2010, thus invalidating the Board's rulings since that time.
Since the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court victory in Communication Workers v. Beck, courts have held that workers who refrain from full-dues-paying union membership cannot be compelled to pay for union political spending, lobbying, member-only events, and similar non-representational activities.
Former Warwick, Rhode Island nurse Jeanette Geary filed a federal unfair labor practice charge against a local nursing union for illegally forcing her and other employees to pay for the union's lobbying or lose their jobs. In 2012, the Board held that the union hierarchy could force the nurse and her coworkers to pay for the union’s lobbying, including political lobbying in the state of Vermont, but asked for further briefs before it issues an appealable final order.
Today, Foundation attorneys filed the last-resort Petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to bar the NLRB from further action in the case until a valid Board is seated.
"Jeanette Geary's case is just the latest example of how independent-minded workers have received unjust treatment at the hands of Obama's illegal, pro-Big Labor NLRB," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The Board must cease its illegal activities expanding union boss powers in the face of long-held Supreme Court precedent and constitutional case law prohibiting union bosses from taking workers' dues for union politics."
"The extraordinary circumstances involving Obama's out-of-control NLRB, which has already proceeded to ignore the appeals court's ruling, has created the urgency for Foundation staff attorneys to employ an extraordinary legal move to halt the Board's unconstitutional actions," added Mix.