Union-Abused Employees Sue Clinton Administration
NLRB receives Al Gorešs "Reinventing Government" award despite abuse

July/August 1999 Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Foundation attorneys have filed suit against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of two employees whose case has been stonewalled for over six years by President Clinton's hand-picked federal agency.

Ironically, on the same day that Foundation attorneys filed suit against the NLRB for dragging its feet, the NLRB General Counsel's office received the so-called "Hammer Award" from Vice President Al Gore's "Reinventing Government" program for handling cases "on a timely basis."

Washington insiders believe that Al Gore gave the award to General Counsel Feinstein for his unswerving loyalty to the interests of the AFL-CIO.

Justice for workers delayed by NLRB

The Foundation's lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue a writ of mandamus, from the Latin meaning "we command," which would force the members of the federal labor board to issue a decision in the case or face imprisonment for contempt of court.

The original case -- filed by Sherry and David Pirlott more than 9 years ago against the Teamsters Local 75 in Green Bay, Wisconsin -- is the oldest of over 100 cases in which Foundation-assisted employees trying to reclaim their forced union dues used for politics have been stonewalled by the NLRB bureaucracy.

"There's absolutely no legitimate excuse for the NLRB's cavalier attitude toward these victims of compulsory unionism abuses," said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the Foundation. "As no other class of cases has been singled out for delay, it's clear that the Clinton/Gore NLRB is bottling up these cases to protect Big Labor's ability to seize compulsory union dues for political activities."

Key case ignored since beginning of Clinton Administration

Since 1992, when the case was transferred to the full Board, NLRB officials have delayed all action on the case brought by the employees of the Schreiber Foods cheese company. As with so many other cases, the union brass had illegally rebuffed the Pirlotts' attempts to exercise their rights under Communications Workers v. Beck. The Foundation-won Beck Supreme Court decision established the right of workers to stop all compulsory union dues used for politics and other non-bargaining activities.

In prior proceedings completed in 1992, an NLRB administrative law judge held that the Teamsters bosses' claim that it spent only 1.1 percent of workers' compulsory dues on activities like politics was "so implausible as to be a per se violation!"

General Counsel Feinstein's predecessor, an appointee of the Bush Administration, filed an appeal with the full NLRB in Washington, D.C. in October 1992, as did Foundation attorneys providing free legal aid to the Pirlotts. The Pirlotts' case contains several issues so far unresolved by the NLRB, such as whether employees can be fired for refusing to financially support union "organizing" drives.

"Perhaps a desire to avoid the union organizing issue is what compelled the union handmaidens who run the NLRB to stall the case," said Gleason.

Last year, Foundation attorneys notified the NLRB that they intended to file for a writ of mandamus if the NLRB did not issue a ruling in short order. Despite that clear warning, the NLRB did nothing. Exactly a year later, their patience exhausted, Foundation attorneys petitioned the appellate court for the writ.

"This unbelievable bias in processing of cases demands a swift investigation by the courts," said Gleason.

Foundation attorneys fight NLRB bias

The Pirlott case is not the first time Foundation attorneys have been forced to take the NLRB to task for dragging its feet. Only last year, Foundation attorneys filed a similar petition for a writ of mandamus in Weissbach v. AFTRA for the NLRB to rule on that case -- which they also had ignored for over six and a half years. Foundation attorneys won an order that ultimately forced the NLRB to rule.

"The NLRB's stalling tactics, coupled with the receipt of the 'Hammer Award,' highlight the contempt that Bill Clinton and Al Gore have for the rights of the working men and women of America," said Gleason. "The Foundation intends to drag these shameless union apologists into the blinding light of public disgrace."


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