Las Vegas, Nev. (April 21, 2003) — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and ruled it is a violation of federal law for union officials to arbitrarily expel workers from an exclusive union hiring hall, deny them the ability to obtain work, and offer them no means of reinstatement.
The court’s ruling comes in a case brought by Las Vegas-area worker Steven Lucas, with the help of attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation, challenging a ruling from the Clinton-NLRB. In 1999, the NLRB ruled in favor of union officials from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 720 who faced unfair labor practice charges after expelling Lucas from the hiring hall and arbitrarily denying him any possibility for future reinstatement.
“Employees should not face arbitrary and vindictive tactics at the hands of union bosses when running their hiring hall monopolies,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Through their mistreatment of Lucas, union officials were sending a message to other employees that the union hierarchy rules the roost.”
Lucas was a union member from 1981-1992 and used the hiring hall until 1994, when union officials illegally and arbitrarily expelled him from the hiring hall. By not allowing Lucas to be reinstated in the hiring hall, IATSE union officials denied him opportunities to work in the Las Vegas trade show and convention industry.
Even though Nevada has a highly popular and effective Right to Work law that frees nonunion employees from paying membership dues to an unwanted union, IATSE union officials use their monopoly bargaining privileges to set up exclusive hiring halls. In such halls, the union decides which employees to refer for work at conventions and trade shows, and the workers are forced to pay the union to be eligible for work.
“Hiring halls allow union officials to undermine state Right to Work laws which are supposed to protect employees from compulsory unionism abuse,” stated Gleason. “The Ninth Circuit ruling gives workers a measure of protection from this corrupt system.”