Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2001) — President George W. Bush’s Beck executive order goes into effect today requiring federal contractors to post a workplace notice informing employees of their right to reclaim all forced union dues not used for collective bargaining activities, like politics.
The order informs objecting employees of their rights under the U.S. Supreme Court decision Communications Workers v. Beck. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys originally won Beck at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1988 on behalf of telephone lineman Harry Beck.
Signed on February 17, 2001, the executive order only affects a small segment of the 12 million American employees compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment, as it just requires federal contractors to inform workers of their Beck rights by posting workplace notices.
Bush’s father issued a similar executive order in April of 1992 that was immediately revoked at the request of union officials as President Clinton took office in 1993. Additionally, the Clinton National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stonewalled the enforcement of these precious employee protections, often leaving many cases languishing within the bureaucracy for six or more years.
Noting that President Bush will be able to appoint three new members to the five-person NLRB, Foundation Vice President Stefan Gleason urged him take a “real step forward” in Beck enforcement. “This order is only a small symbolic first step. The president must now appoint individuals to the NLRB who are willing to enforce the Beck decision.”
Experts estimate that during the year 2000 elections, union officials spent approximately $800 million on soft money and in-kind political activities, nearly all of it paid for out of union dues collected from employees as a condition of employment. Gleason pointed out that even with full enforcement, the Beck precedent is not a cure-all. Nevertheless, the Foundation’s free legal aid program has ensured that hundreds of thousands of employees are getting substantial dues reductions.
Gleason also noted that the best solution is to attack compulsory unionism abuse at its root, not to fashion new regulatory schemes and government bureaucracies to regulate its ill effects.
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.