Washington, DC (March 3, 2006) – Accepting a federal court rebuke of a controversial Clinton-era decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this week ruled that BellSouth Telecommunications employees cannot be forced to wear objectionable union insignia on their work uniforms as a condition of employment. The decision marks the culmination of a five-year legal battle between a group of BellSouth employees, receiving free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, and Communications Workers of America (CWA) union officials. In January of last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously overturned an erroneous 2001 NLRB ruling that approved the practice of forcing BellSouth employees to wear union logos on their work uniforms – or be fired from their jobs. After issuing its decision, the court took the rare step of ordering the NLRB to pay attorneys fees, because the agency’s reasoning had not been substantially justified. Yet, in defiance of the appellate court’s ruling, CWA union officials continued to insist, despite the objections of numerous BellSouth employees, that they wear the union logo as a condition of employment. However, after the court remanded its ruling to the NLRB and instructed the agency to issue an order consistent with the court’s opinion, the NLRB has now ruled that BellSouth and CWA officials must cease and desist from requiring any employees to wear the CWA union logo. BellSouth must also post notices throughout its facilities informing workers of their right not to wear the CWA union logo on their uniforms if they so choose. “Employees should not be forced to be walking billboards for a union that they do not support,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The CWA union hierarchy’s repeated abuse of employees’ rights in this long ordeal underscores their lack of respect for the law and for the employees they supposedly represent.” The appellate 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. Moreover, the court explained that anyone viewing an employee wearing the union logo would reasonably assume that the employee is a formal member of the union. The court ruled that this restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of their right to refrain from formal union membership and union activities.