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Ohio Attorney General Likely to Part With President Bush by Allowing Discriminatory Union-Only Contracting

Columbus, Ohio (March 24, 2003) — Inside sources revealed that union lobbyists have likely convinced Attorney General Jim Petro to refuse to appeal a high-profile Ohio State Supreme Court decision that voided the state’s Open Contracting Act, a popular measure that bans mandatory union-only contracts or project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects. The attorney general faces a deadline of Thursday, March 27, to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court in Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. If Petro does not appeal the Ohio Supreme Court ruling, union officials will be able to force independent workers and contractors across Ohio to submit to compulsory unionism on all state-funded construction projects. By failing to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Petro will also put himself directly at odds with policies laid down by President George W. Bush – the leader of Petro’s own political party – who signed an Executive Order prohibiting the use of discriminatory union-only PLAs on federally funded construction projects. The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling explicitly parted with a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upholding the widely supported Bush directive. “Aside from betraying Ohio’s taxpayers and independent workers who have much at stake in this legal battle, the attorney general risks alienating key players who will have tremendous influence over whether he will win his party’s nomination for governor,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Meanwhile, there is no political gain in trying to appease union officials who will never support Petro in any meaningful way.” Currently, Right to Work supporters and non-union employees and contractors across Ohio are mobilizing to counter the pressure union political operatives are putting on Petro. The attorney general’s office has already been contacted by thousands of constituents demanding he support a policy of open contracting in public works projects. A project labor agreement is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding. After the Ohio legislature passed the Open Contacting Act in 1999, union lawyers sued the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners to retain forced unionism on state construction projects. In December 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed an appellate court ruling upholding the Act. Attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation participated as an amicus curiae in support of the Open Contracting Act, arguing that the state legislature has the right not to finance a form of compulsory unionism with public construction funds.

News Release

Ohio Attorney General Likely to Part With President Bush by Allowing Discriminatory Union-Only Contracting

Columbus, Ohio (March 24, 2003) — Inside sources revealed that union lobbyists have likely convinced Attorney General Jim Petro to refuse to appeal a high-profile Ohio State Supreme Court decision that voided the state’s Open Contracting Act, a popular measure that bans mandatory union-only contracts or project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects.

The attorney general faces a deadline of Thursday, March 27, to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court in Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. If Petro does not appeal the Ohio Supreme Court ruling, union officials will be able to force independent workers and contractors across Ohio to submit to compulsory unionism on all state-funded construction projects.

By failing to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Petro will also put himself directly at odds with policies laid down by President George W. Bush – the leader of Petro’s own political party – who signed an Executive Order prohibiting the use of discriminatory union-only PLAs on federally funded construction projects. The Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling explicitly parted with a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling upholding the widely supported Bush directive.

“Aside from betraying Ohio’s taxpayers and independent workers who have much at stake in this legal battle, the attorney general risks alienating key players who will have tremendous influence over whether he will win his party’s nomination for governor,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Meanwhile, there is no political gain in trying to appease union officials who will never support Petro in any meaningful way.”

Currently, Right to Work supporters and non-union employees and contractors across Ohio are mobilizing to counter the pressure union political operatives are putting on Petro. The attorney general’s office has already been contacted by thousands of constituents demanding he support a policy of open contracting in public works projects.

A project labor agreement is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.

After the Ohio legislature passed the Open Contacting Act in 1999, union lawyers sued the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners to retain forced unionism on state construction projects. In December 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed an appellate court ruling upholding the Act. Attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation participated as an amicus curiae in support of the Open Contracting Act, arguing that the state legislature has the right not to finance a form of compulsory unionism with public construction funds.

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.

Operating Engineer Union Hit With Federal Charges For Threatening to Get Employees Fired

El Paso, Texas (March 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a worker for a federal contractor at Ft. Bliss today filed federal charges against officials of a local engineering union and his employer for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues as a job condition. Cordev Inc. employee Richard Cabler, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) union Local 35 and Cordev. The union’s officials illegally threatened to get him fired for refusing to pay full dues, including dues spent for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining. “In an effort to stuff their coffers, union officials are demanding that employees simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. In December 2002, both IUOE union officials and Cordev notified all employees at the Fort Bliss facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign a dues check-off card forcing employees in the bargaining unit to pay full dues. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay only a reduced fee. These threats violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and paying any costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining. The Cordev controversy is somewhat unique in the Lone Star State, since Texas has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Cordev’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them. “The abusive actions of IUOE union officials show why most Texas workers are fortunate to have the protections of a Right to Work Law,” said Gleason.

Teamsters Union to Triple PAC Spending to Defeat “All GOP Candidates”

Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2003) — Inside sources reveal that former Hoffa campaign chief and Teamsters union national field director, Todd Thompson, will be tasked with tripling contributions to the Teamsters political action committee (PAC) and that the funds will be spent to defeat "all GOP candidates" in the 2004 election cycle. This development appears to represent a shift in strategy by the union’s political operatives who had been willing to support a few left-wing Republicans in the past. In the 2002 election cycle the Teamster’s PAC, known as DRIVE, spent $2.3 million on behalf of federal candidates. 86 percent of the contributions went to Democrat party candidates – even though studies have consistently shown that 40 percent of union households vote for other candidates. “This move further demonstrates that Teamsters union officials are totally out of touch with the interests of rank-and-file workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Despite all of James Hoffa’s rhetoric about reaching out to Republicans, the reality is that Teamsters officials are nothing more than Democrat party shills.” This latest move by the union hierarchy also points up the failure of a strategy pursued by the White House political office to make core policy concessions in exchange for union political support. Despite these concessions, union officials have made ongoing attacks on Bush and other Republicans. For example, over the past eighteen months, the White House political office has: 1) given Teamsters and Carpenters officials significant influence over selection of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); 2) encouraged Congress not to hold hearings on legislation that would be embarrassing to union officials, such as legislation to end compulsory unionism; 3) filed arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing review of a NLRB decision that gutted employee rights not to pay forced union dues spent to support objectionable union activities; 4) inserted a discriminatory union-only project labor agreement in the Alaska energy legislation; and 5) signaled its intention to release the corrupt Teamsters union from federal oversight. “For anyone in the White House who believed they could get Big Labor bosses to play nice in the 2004 elections this is a loud wake up call,” said Gleason. “The Teamsters hierarchy and other union bosses are predictably focused on defeating George W. Bush and retaking both houses of Congress.”

News Release

Operating Engineer Union Hit With Federal Charges For Threatening to Get Employees Fired

El Paso, Texas (March 11, 2003) – With the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a worker for a federal contractor at Ft. Bliss today filed federal charges against officials of a local engineering union and his employer for illegally forcing him to pay full union dues as a job condition.

Cordev Inc. employee Richard Cabler, a non-union member, filed the unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) union Local 35 and Cordev. The union’s officials illegally threatened to get him fired for refusing to pay full dues, including dues spent for politics and other activities unrelated to collective bargaining.

“In an effort to stuff their coffers, union officials are demanding that employees simply shut up and pay up,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation.

In December 2002, both IUOE union officials and Cordev notified all employees at the Fort Bliss facility that they would be fired if they failed to sign a dues check-off card forcing employees in the bargaining unit to pay full dues. However, the workers never received timely notice of their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay only a reduced fee.

These threats violate the workers’ rights established by the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court Communications Workers v. Beck decision. Under Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings, union officials must specifically inform employees of their right to refrain from formal union membership and paying any costs other than those directly related to collective bargaining.

The Cordev controversy is somewhat unique in the Lone Star State, since Texas has a highly popular Right to Work law that bans compulsory unionism. However, because Cordev’s employees work on federal property under exclusive federal jurisdiction, the state’s Right to Work law does not protect them.

“The abusive actions of IUOE union officials show why most Texas workers are fortunate to have the protections of a Right to Work Law,” said Gleason.

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.
News Release

Teamsters Union to Triple PAC Spending to Defeat “All GOP Candidates”

Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2003) — Inside sources reveal that former Hoffa campaign chief and Teamsters union national field director, Todd Thompson, will be tasked with tripling contributions to the Teamsters political action committee (PAC) and that the funds will be spent to defeat "all GOP candidates" in the 2004 election cycle.

This development appears to represent a shift in strategy by the union’s political operatives who had been willing to support a few left-wing Republicans in the past.

In the 2002 election cycle the Teamster’s PAC, known as DRIVE, spent $2.3 million on behalf of federal candidates. 86 percent of the contributions went to Democrat party candidates – even though studies have consistently shown that 40 percent of union households vote for other candidates.

“This move further demonstrates that Teamsters union officials are totally out of touch with the interests of rank-and-file workers,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Despite all of James Hoffa’s rhetoric about reaching out to Republicans, the reality is that Teamsters officials are nothing more than Democrat party shills.”

This latest move by the union hierarchy also points up the failure of a strategy pursued by the White House political office to make core policy concessions in exchange for union political support. Despite these concessions, union officials have made ongoing attacks on Bush and other Republicans.

For example, over the past eighteen months, the White House political office has: 1) given Teamsters and Carpenters officials significant influence over selection of nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); 2) encouraged Congress not to hold hearings on legislation that would be embarrassing to union officials, such as legislation to end compulsory unionism; 3) filed arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing review of a NLRB decision that gutted employee rights not to pay forced union dues spent to support objectionable union activities; 4) inserted a discriminatory union-only project labor agreement in the Alaska energy legislation; and 5) signaled its intention to release the corrupt Teamsters union from federal oversight.

“For anyone in the White House who believed they could get Big Labor bosses to play nice in the 2004 elections this is a loud wake up call,” said Gleason. “The Teamsters hierarchy and other union bosses are predictably focused on defeating George W. Bush and retaking both houses of Congress.”

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.

National Employee Rights Advocate Calls Upon Ohio Attorney General to Oppose Union Discrimination

Columbus, Ohio (March 4, 2003) — Today, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter calling on Attorney General Jim Petro to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision striking down the state’s highly popular Open Contracting Act. Last December, in Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, the elected judges threw out the Open Contracting Act, which bans mandatory union-only contracts, or project labor agreements (PLAs), on government construction projects. If the attorney general does not file an appeal by the deadline of March 27, union officials will be able to force workers across Ohio to submit to compulsory unionism on all state construction projects. The National Right to Work Foundation is also contacting thousands of its Ohio supporters, asking them to contact the attorney general and Governor Bob Taft. “Union lawyers are trying to strip away any protections that workers and taxpayers have from compulsory unionism,” said Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Ray LaJeunesse. “This is an opportunity for Attorney General Petro to defend Ohio’s workers and taxpayers from the numerous abuses associated with union-only PLAs on government construction projects.” A PLA is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding. After the Ohio legislature passed the Open Contacting Act in 1999, union lawyers sued the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners to retain forced unionism on state construction projects. In October 1999, a trial court permanently enjoined enforcement of the law. An Ohio appellate court later reversed the lower court’s decision, ruling that the National Labor Relations Act does not prohibit states from banning government-mandated discriminatory, union-only PLAs on government construction projects. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation participated as an amicus curiae in support of the Open Contracting Act. Foundation attorneys argued that the state legislature has the right not to finance a form of compulsory unionism with public construction funds. Ohio’s intermediate appellate court used the Foundation’s arguments to uphold the law in its now reversed ruling. Foundation attorneys plan to file a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Open Contracting Act, if Ohio’s attorney general appeals.

News Release

National Employee Rights Advocate Calls Upon Ohio Attorney General to Oppose Union Discrimination

Columbus, Ohio (March 4, 2003) — Today, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter calling on Attorney General Jim Petro to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision striking down the state’s highly popular Open Contracting Act.

Last December, in Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, the elected judges threw out the Open Contracting Act, which bans mandatory union-only contracts, or project labor agreements (PLAs), on government construction projects.

If the attorney general does not file an appeal by the deadline of March 27, union officials will be able to force workers across Ohio to submit to compulsory unionism on all state construction projects. The National Right to Work Foundation is also contacting thousands of its Ohio supporters, asking them to contact the attorney general and Governor Bob Taft.

“Union lawyers are trying to strip away any protections that workers and taxpayers have from compulsory unionism,” said Foundation Vice President and Legal Director Ray LaJeunesse. “This is an opportunity for Attorney General Petro to defend Ohio’s workers and taxpayers from the numerous abuses associated with union-only PLAs on government construction projects.”

A PLA is a scheme that requires all contractors, whether they are unionized or not, to subject themselves and their employees to unionization in order to work on government-funded construction projects. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; use exclusive union hiring halls; force workers to pay dues as a condition of employment; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.

After the Ohio legislature passed the Open Contacting Act in 1999, union lawyers sued the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners to retain forced unionism on state construction projects. In October 1999, a trial court permanently enjoined enforcement of the law. An Ohio appellate court later reversed the lower court’s decision, ruling that the National Labor Relations Act does not prohibit states from banning government-mandated discriminatory, union-only PLAs on government construction projects.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation participated as an amicus curiae in support of the Open Contracting Act. Foundation attorneys argued that the state legislature has the right not to finance a form of compulsory unionism with public construction funds. Ohio’s intermediate appellate court used the Foundation’s arguments to uphold the law in its now reversed ruling. Foundation attorneys plan to file a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the Open Contracting Act, if Ohio’s attorney general appeals.

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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