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The fragility of civil liberties in the United States became evident after the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11). Labor's freedom of association, which is the right to form unions, bargain collectively, and engage in concerted activities, is one of the civil liberties at risk in the post-9/11 period. This Article focuses specifically on post-9/11 limitations of labor's freedom of association conducted by the executive branch and the Congress, and the ways that the courts have adjudicated labor rights in the post-9/11 era. Domestic labor law and constitutional rights alone, however, will not stop the collision of security and worker rights. International freedom of association rights will have to be further developed in public and private spheres. International law provides both promise and peril, however, because instruments protecting freedom of association incorporate a national security exception to full freedom of association. This Article concludes that the situations in which security should trump freedom of association are extremely limited. Indeed, national security is affirmatively improved by affording more workers freedom of association and collective bargaining. The author argues in this Article that labor's freedom of association is under threat as are other civil liberties in the post-9/11 world.

Publication Citation

8 U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L. 283 (2006)