The following letter to the editor appeared in the Jan. 21, 2002 Wall Street Journal.

Your Jan. 9 editorial "Beck and Beyond" contained many important points but failed to assess the likelihood that the Beck case could realistically be enforced according to the Supreme Court's directions, due to the status of pending NLRB nominations.

Currently three Clinton holdover members of the board have signed onto cases eroding Beck rights (which establishes that unions can't spend dues money on political causes their dues-paying members don't support).  Republican Chairman Hurtgen is operating with a recess appointment and he will continue to align himself with two Democratic appointees who oppose the full extension of Beck principles to workers.  Two new conservative Bush appointments would not alter this scenario.  In essence, it would be necessary for one of the holdovers to change positions, which is extremely doubtful, or Mr. Bush would have to withdraw his Hurtgen nomination and replace him with a pro-Beck candidate.

Unless the Bush administration reassesses the board appointments with respect to Beck rights, worker political freedom will remain in the deep freeze for the forseeable future.

Robert P. Hunter
Director of Labor Policy
Mackinac Center for Public Policy

For more on Beck rights, please see the Mackinac Center study, "Compulsory Union Dues in Michigan" by Mr. Hunter.