Court of Appeals Blasts NLRB’s Assault on Right to Work
Federal agency a shill for Big Labor

July/August 2000 Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Another appellate court has slammed down the latest attempt by Big Labor’s pet Washington bureaucracy, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to chip away at the Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court requirement that unions disclose their finances to working people.

In the Foundation-won Penrod v. Teamsters decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit harshly reprimanded the NLRB while overturning its ruling that allowed union bosses to further conceal from workers how they spend forced union dues for politics.

“Bill Clinton’s NLRB has been exposed as nothing more than a shill for Big Labor,” said Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason.

Early last year, the scofflaw NLRB ruled in Penrod to let local Teamsters bosses off the hook when they provided a pathetic, chicken-scratch financial disclosure to Robert Penrod and his fellow employees at DynCorp Support Services Operation in Fort Irwin, California. Moreover, the union provided no meaningful disclosure of how any of their international affiliates spend workers’ money. Instead they demanded that the employees pay a whopping 93.6 percent of all dues, enclosing shoddy, handwritten worksheets as the basis for the demand.

“A two-year-old toddler with a box of crayons and Fisher-Price calculator could have come up with a more credible and accurate accounting of the union’s expenditures,” stated Gleason.

The Board’s now-overturned Penrod ruling was one of its many assaults on the landmark Foundation- won U.S. Supreme Court ruling Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, which established that union officials must provide employees with an independent audit to justify the union’s expenditures before seizing forced dues.

Appellate court slams rogue NLRB again

During oral arguments in Penrod’s appeal, union and NLRB lawyers stood side-by-side trying to convince a skeptical panel of judges that the Teamsters union’s chicken-scratch worksheet was enough to inform employees on how much the union was spending on partisan political activities. Presented with obviously bogus numbers, one judge quipped that it looked like the union had calculated the figures down to “four decimal points of irrelevancy.”

Union lawyers also argued, contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court Hudson decision, that union officials are only required to provide financial disclosure to employees after they object to paying full union dues.

Even more arrogantly, union and NLRB lawyers tried to convince the court that its previous ruling in a similar case was wrong.

“This is the sort of gall that comes from having unchecked government-granted power,” said Gleason.

Foundation continues to hold NLRB accountable

In the end, the court blasted the NLRB’s decision when it found, “a portion of the Board’s decision unsupported by reasoned decision-making and the remainder in conflict with Supreme Court and circuit precedent.”

“This victory is a major step forward for the Foundation’s efforts to hold the NLRB accountable. Only with the help of its generous supporters has the Foundation been successful in taking this outlaw federal agency to task,” concluded Gleason.


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