So when the white-collar Public Commercial Services union threatened the Communities Secretary with legal action, he got himself a top lawyer.
Now Mr Pickles and the PCS union will be slugging it out in the High Court.
The dispute centres on Mr Pickles?s decision to end the automatic collection of union subs from civil service salaries.
The system, known as ?check off?, allows employees who want to sign up to a trade union to have their monthly subscription deducted from their pay packet automatically.
Earlier this year, Mr Pickles issued guidance to councils urging them to end ?check off? or start charging unions for the cost of administration. He is the first Cabinet minister to try to bring an end to the scheme within Whitehall.
The PCS cried foul over what it called a breach of employees contracts and last week gave the Department of Communities and Local Government a deadline to back down.
Instead Mr Pickles has hired formidable QC James Eadie to challenge the PCS.
Experts say Mr Eadie is gifted with a ?phenomenal intellect? and he has often represented the Government on civil liberties and human rights issues in judicial reviews and public law challenges.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ?Eric Pickles?s latest attempt to undermine our union in his department is unnecessary and wholly politically-motivated.?
Let the battle be joined!