WASHINGTON (PAI)–In a Supreme Court brief that was really no great surprise, the anti-worker GOP Bush regime joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in arguing against California’s company neutrality law.

In a brief filed with the justices at the deadline in January, Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement–the government’s attorney in all Supreme Court cases–argued the National Labor Relations Act governs organizing campaigns, and the California law is an illegal attempt to pre-empt that.

The California law, passed in September 2000 and signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis (D), has never taken effect. The Chamber of Commerce immediately challenged it in lower courts, which split. The law bars any entity that receives at least $10,000 in state money from using any of the funds “to assist, promote or deter union organizing.”

The firms and organizations that get the state money can use their own funds for or against organizing. But they must keep meticulous records showing the two pots of funds are not mixed. And the state attorney general or any California resident, acting as a private attorney general, can sue to enforce the law.

California said it is not trying to curb employer speech for or against union organizing, but is protecting use of its own taxpayers’ money.

The Bush regime’s National Labor Relations Board joined the Chamber against the law, on free speech grounds, when the business group first took it to court. The Supreme Court specifically invited Bush’s Justice Department to weigh in before the justices hear the case on March 19. Clement did, speaking for DOJ and Bush. He opposed California’s law.

“Congress determined both unions and employers should be permitted wide berth to speak with employees about the advantages and disadvantages of unionization in order to enhance employee free choice and foster fair representation elections, and it made that choice explicit in section 8(c) of the NLRA. At the same time, Congress recognized union and employer speech may be regulated in limited circumstances, and it entrusted regulation to the board,” Clement wrote on behalf of the Bush government.

California’s law “intrudes on that comprehensive federal scheme by penalizing employers who speak about unionization. It broadly prohibits any employers that receive state grant or program funds from using such funds to assist, promote, or deter based on the state’s expressly stated view that employer speech interferes with an employee’s choice about whether to join or to be represented,” Clement continued.

“That policy judgment is directly contrary to Congress’s judgment in the NLRA that robust employer speech enhances employee choice and contributes to fair elections. Because it penalizes speech Congress intended it be left unregulated,” he wrote.

Unions have long noted that the choice of whether to unionize or not should be solely the business of the workers. Companies don’t allow workers to make company policy decisions, they note, so companies should have no part in deciding their workers’ business.

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