NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NLRB Ignoring Beck Cases

December 2, 1998

Seven out of eight cases languishing on the National Labor Relations Board docket involve workers trying to recoup union dues taken for political purposes they object to -- known as "Beck" cases. Critics charge that the NLRB simply is uninterested in enforcing the law in this area.

  • In its decision concerning Communications Workers of America vs. Beck, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that unions could not forces workers to pay for activities unrelated to collective bargaining or contract negotiations -- in other words, union lobbying or campaigning they disagreed with.
  • Of the 35,000 cases that reach the NLRB each year, less than 2 percent are Beck cases -- yet nearly half of the cases which have been laid aside for two or more years are Beck cases, according to a former board chairman.
  • Thirteen of the board's 20 oldest cases -- some going back to the Bush administration -- are Beck cases.
  • Organized labor spent an estimated $500 million -- roughly 5 percent of its total budget -- on politics this year, nearly all of it to boost Democratic Party candidates.

Yet a significant portion of union dues-payers are Republicans, who so far have been waiting in vain to recoup their money, critics report.

Much of this information was unearthed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation after it filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Source: Editorial, "The Labor Complaint Graveyard," Investor's Business Daily, December 2, 1998.


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