Los Angeles, Calif. (October 9, 2003) – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has forced the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 to rescind fines that were illegally levied against 31 janitors who continued working to support their families during the so-called “Justice for Janitors” strike in April 2000.
The rescission is part of a settlement agreement reached as a result of unfair labor practice charges filed with the NLRB by the janitors against SEIU Local 1877. The janitors were represented by attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation.
“This settlement is a victory for those workers who have the courage to stand up and put their families ahead of the demands of a self-serving union bureaucracy,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
In July 2000, Local 1877 union officials started levying the illegal fines – often amounting to $500 per janitor – and demanded that the janitors either pay the fines or perform so-called “community service,” such as scrubbing floors at the union hall, after the strike against various Los Angeles area employers. SEIU union officials hit the workers with illegal fines because they chose to work rather than sacrifice crucial family income during the 2000 strike.
With the help of Foundation attorneys, the janitors filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB against SEIU Local 1877. The janitors are employed by American Building Maintenance Janitorial Services Company and two other janitorial services.
In December 2002, the NLRB issued a consolidated complaint against the powerful California union for retaliating against those who exercised their right to work during the strike.
As part of the settlement, SEIU Local 1877 must also post a notice alerting all workers in the bargaining unit to their right to refrain from formal union membership and pay a reduced fee covering only the cost of activities directly related to collective bargaining. The Foundation-won Supreme Court decision in Communications Workers v. Beck and subsequent NLRB rulings prohibit union officials from requiring formal union membership or the payment of full union dues as a condition of employment.