Atlanta, Ga. (September 21, 2005) – National Right to Work Foundation attorneys have filed charges on behalf of a telephone worker against his employer, BellSouth Telecommunications, and its union for forcing him to wear a union logo as a job condition. In doing so, company and union officials are directly defying a 2005 U.S. Court of Appeals decision which ruled that their policy is unlawful. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously overturned a controversial Clinton-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that approved the practice of forcing both union and non-union BellSouth employees to wear union insignia on their work uniforms or be fired from their jobs. After issuing its decision, the Court of Appeals took the rare step of ordering the NLRB to pay attorneys fees because their erroneous decision had not been substantially justified. In defiance of the appellate court’s ruling, Communications Workers of America (CWA) union officials continue to insist, despite the objections of BellSouth employee Gary Mullis, that he wear their logo as a condition of employment. Mullis, who is not a member of the CWA union, was informed in May by BellSouth that he would not be allowed to refrain from wearing the union insignia. Mullis objects to wearing the logo because the union pursues political objectives that do not represent his views. His charges seek the prosecution of the company and union for unfair labor practices. “Workers should not be forced to be walking billboards for union officials who seek to trample their own freedoms,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The repeated abusive actions of the CWA hierarchy and BellSouth management raise serious questions about their integrity and respect for the law.” The appellate court’s 3-0 decision overturning the unlawful policy concurred with Foundation attorneys’ arguments that provisions of the National Labor Relations Act embodied a “right to refrain from wearing union insignia.” The court rejected union and company lawyers’ claims that the display of the union patch alongside the company logo on the uniform was so integral to the “public image” of BellSouth that the mandate superceded the individual rights of workers. The court noted that there was no evidence that the union patch projected a positive image to customers, and that it could, in fact, signal a negative image to customers who could conclude that strikes and service interruptions were more likely to occur. However, regardless of what image was projected to customers, the court explained that proper analysis should have been what the requirement signaled to employees – that the company and union expect employees to be union members. The court ruled that this restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of their right to refrain from union membership.