Federal Labor Board Finds Union Officials Guilty of Forcing Firing of Security Guard Who Didn’t Pay Dues
**El Paso, TX (June 18, 2007)** – After attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation helped Juan Vielma file federal charges at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an administrative law judge ordered the local security guard’s reinstatement and back pay for his unlawful firing for exercising his right to cutoff payment of all union dues, a right protected by Texas’ Right to Work law.
But Foundation attorneys anticipate another attempt by union officials to stall the security guard from reclaiming his job by appealing the decision to the NLRB in Washington, DC. Vielma has yet to receive any back pay for wages he would have earned over the past year if he was still employed.
The Texas Attorney General has so far failed to prosecute these violations of the state’s Right to Work law, a criminal statute.
Vielma, an AKAL Security employee, prompted the NLRB to issue a complaint and prosecute the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) union and his employer after he was unlawfully suspended without pay in retaliation for asserting his legal right not to pay union dues. AKAL and SPFPA union officials falsely claimed Vielma worked on federal property that is not protected by Texas’ Right to Work law, and thus could be forced to pay union dues or be fired.
After a hearing before the NLRB, Administrative Law Judge Gregory Z. Meyerson ruled that the SPFPA union hierarchy must submit a written request to AKAL requiring Vielma’s reinstatement, as well as reimburse all his lost earnings and benefits since his termination. Additionally, union officials must cease and desist from enforcing contract clauses that make payment of union dues a requirement of employment –– and union officials must post notices at the El Paso facility and SPFPA union headquarters informing employees of their right to resign from union membership and cut off all dues payment.
“Because the Texas Attorney General’s office is so far AWOL, Vielma is stuck with the slow moving processes of the NLRB,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Union officials are trying to destroy Mr. Vielma for standing up for his rights.”
The ruling described union lawyers’ last-ditch attempt to keep Vielma out of work as “a final effort in what appeared to be the inevitable” when they argued that the National Labor Relations “Act be ignored in any matters involving national security.” The ALJ referenced another Board decision to show that “this same Union argued that the NLRB has jurisdiction over airport screeners...whose work is obviously regulated by Homeland Security.”
Parallel to Vielma’s case, Foundation attorneys are helping Carlos Banuelos, a Corpus Christi security guard who filed federal charges against the SPFPA union. SPFPA union officials there are similarly attempting to enforce a forced dues contract clause in violation of Texas’ Right to Work law, which prohibits forced dues.