A Suggestion for DOL

By April 27, 2005Labor Unions

While we’re talking about the US Department of Labor (see “The AFL-CIO, Unburdened by Consistency”, below), here’s an idea for them:

In the Clinton Administration, ostensibly to make their website more “worker-friendly”, OSHA added to its site a section just for workers, to make it easier for them to file OSHA-related complaints against their employers. Nice. Just the good ol’ DOL, trying to be more worker-friendly.

Well, if they want to be worker friendly, put real money in workers pockets, there’s this Beck issue. In 1988, the US Supreme Court decided, Communications Workers of America v. Beck. In it, the court found that workers covered by the National Labor Relations Act can withhold their dues from the union for everything but the documented cost of collective bargaining. If union members knew about this and it was easy to get your money back, they’d do it in droves. The implication for the unions would be that they would no longer be able to put tens of millions of their member’s money down the rathole supporting issues and candidates with which their members disagree. While Beck is the law of the land today, pity the poor union member who actually tries to get their Beck money back. They run a gauntlet of procedures, roadblocks and unintelligible rules, defeating all but the most determined. Try entering “Beck”, “Rights” and “Union” into Google and see if any unions pop up with their E-Z form for refunds. Don’t bet on it.

So how about the Labor Department expands its worker-friendliness and builds a site accessible by every union member in America, where they could just log on, fill out their Beck form and submit it electronically to their union? How hard could it be? The OSHA site is state of the art, why not make a Beck site that is the same?

Let’s put a little money back in workers’ pockets!