(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

There has always been a silver lining to the cloud of practicing labor law in the "right to work" South: it has been unnecessary to learn all the ins and outs of Beck. Not Beck, but Beck (Supreme Court decision holding that people represented by unions have the right not to pay some portion of union dues if they don't want to). In the "right to work" South, there is a right under most states' laws to be a total freeloader, not just the federal law Beck right to be a partial freeloader, so I happily never had to learn all the intricacies of substance and procedure under Beck and its progeny. Nonetheless, I do know enough to know that the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, upholding a Bush Executive Order that requires government contractors to notify employees of their Beck partial-freeloader rights, is bad news and is wrong. Maybe next year -- after going this entire Term without hearing a single case under the labor laws (as distinct from employment laws) -- the Supreme Court will step in and (a) bring some needed clarity to "Garmon preemption" and (b) reverse this decision. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court will not be in a position to make snarky comments like, "Well, Mr. President, as long as you're requiring employers to post notices telling employees of their rights, why not require them to post notices telling employees of the rights they have, under the federal labor laws, to stand up to their employers? Or does that not fit into your vision?"

posted by sam 11:50 AM 0 comments


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