The Rush Act was an Earth Alliance law which, once enacted, empowered the local authority to end industrial action by "any means necessary." The law was originally conceived in 2246 as a means of quickly ending work stoppages during wartime conditions, when Earth's industrial productivity was essential for the continued operation of their forces. Following the Earth-Minbari War, however, the bill had been used to crush strikes in peacetime, and was previously invoked during a miners strike on Europa with tragic consequences, akin to what took place in New California and Matewan.
The act is notoriously controversial and can only be invoked by the Earth Senate and even then under certain circumstances, specifically when the actions of a union or a corporation endangers the operation of a military base or operation.
The act was invoked again in 2258 by Earth labor negotiator Orin Zento when the Babylon 5 Docker's Guild initiated an illegal strike following grievances over safety standards, low pay, long work hours and under staffing. Under the authority of the act, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair chose to re-allocate 1.3 million credits from the station's military budget to begin upgrades to all dockside equipment, hire additional workers and declared an amnesty for any worker who had not committed any other crime during the strike. Though controversial, EarthGov decided to let the decision stand as popular opinion was on his side.
Behind the Scenes[edit | edit source]
According the JMS, the Rush Act was named by episode writer Kathryn M. Drennan after the conservative talk-radio host and noted anti-union speaker Rush Limbaugh. It also bears a close resemblance to the Riot Act first passed in the UK and still enforced among some of the former British colonies.