- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Employees of government contractors must be told in posted notices that they cannot be forced to join a union or pay dues unrelated to collective bargaining, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.
The decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out a lower court ruling that blocked President Bush's 2001 executive order requiring the notices.
Mr. Bush's order was similar to one issued by his father in 1992 that was later rescinded by President Clinton.
The order required all companies with government contracts worth more than $100,000 to post the labor law notices, telling employees that they cannot be required to join a union or maintain membership to keep their jobs.
Workers also cannot be required to pay dues and fees for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, such as political efforts.
The United Auto Workers-Labor Employment and Training Corp., a government contractor, and three unions sued, saying that such issues fall within the regulatory scope of the National Labor Relations Act, which does not mandate the postings.
The lower court agreed that Mr. Bush's order pre-empted the act, and blocked the order on those grounds.
But the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, said the unions' arguments were "flawed" and sent the case back to the lower court.
United Auto Workers officials could not be reached immediately for comment.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which filed a friend of the court brief supporting Mr. Bush's order, praised the decision.
"This ruling is a step toward informing employees that they have the right not to be shaken down to pay for union political activities," said Stefan Gleason, the foundation's vice president. "No employee should be forced to fund a political agenda they abhor as a job condition."
The majority opinion was written by Judge Stephen F. Williams, joined by Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Judge Judith W. Rogers dissented.

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