The Bush administration’s steamroller against workers’ rights ran into a detour last week when, for the second time a federal court threw out one of the president’s union-busting Executive Orders.

The Order that the Court declared illegal Jan. 2 required federal contractors to post notices “informing” employees of their “rights” to avoid unionization and dues payment.

The Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act does not give the president authority to issue such an order and therefore permanently enjoined the Bush administration from enforcing it.

The labor movement had strongly opposed Bush’s original order, pointing out that the most important right that workers need information about is their right to organize.

Shortly after taking office last year, George Bush issued four anti-labor Executive Orders that had long been sought by corporate contributors and right-wing foundations.

The Jan. 2 decision is the second of that group to be overturned by the courts. Last September, Bush’s Executive Order on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) was declared illegal.

PLAs are agreements negotiated between a contractor or government agency and labor unions, generally establishing a common set of work rules, working conditions, hiring, and dispute resolution practices. They have been an important tool of the labor movement in maintaining union standards and presence in construction work across the country.

Bush’s order forbade agencies to require bidders on federal construction projects to enter into agreements with a labor organization for the work. In that case, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Bush’s Executive Order, “unquestionably conflicts” with the National Labor Relations Act.

The other two Executive Orders still stand. One deals with building service contractors in federal buildings. It rescinds the requirement that new contractors have to continue the employment in the same jobs of qualified employees of the old contractor.

The other abolishes the requirement that federal agencies confer with employee representatives over issues such as staffing levels and work techniques.

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