Security Guard Forces Employer to Settle After Unlawfully Threatening Firings for Refusal to Pay Union Dues
**Corpus Christi, TX (August 1, 2007)** – A security guard helped by attorneys at the National Right to Work Foundation has forced Asset Protection and Security Services (Asset) to settle federal charges he filed in April after company and union officials required him to pay union dues in violation of Texas’ Right to Work law.
Carlos Banuelos, a Corpus Christi-based Asset employee, filed federal charges against the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) union and his employer, a federal contractor at a detention facility at Port Isabel.
The settlement requires Asset to reimburse Banuelos for dues paid and post a notice informing all security guards at the Corpus Christi facility about their rights. Specifically, Asset agreed not to “threaten” employees with termination for refusal to pay dues as well as make whole Banuelos “for any monies, plus interest, lost as a result of the discrimination against him.”
Banuelos’ charge detailed how the SPFPA union hierarchy maintains an illegal monopoly bargaining agreement with his employer that makes financial support for the union a mandatory condition of employment. Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board agreed to issue a complaint and prosecute the SPFPA union for threatening to have workers fired for refusal to pay dues. While Asset has settled, the defiant SPFPA union refuses and is scheduled to appear at trial before an Administrative Law Judge in October.
SPFPA union officials falsely claim without proof that Banuelos and his coworkers work on an “exclusive federal enclave” that is not protected by the Right to Work law – and thus can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Meanwhile, evidence shows that union officials have established these forced dues requirements at multiple worksites across Texas under apparently fraudulent agreements.
“Evidence indicates that union bosses have duped potentially thousands of Texans into paying compulsory union dues in violation of the law,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “They must refund every dollar seized – no one should be forced to pay union dues just to get or keep a job.”
After the National Right to Work Foundation called on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office for over eight months, his office followed up on two Foundation-led cases by initiating legal proceedings to enforce the state’s Right to Work law. Filed on July 24, the state’s lawsuits seek permanent injunctions against the collection of forced dues by the SPFPA union, as well as Asset in Corpus Christi and AKAL Security in El Paso.
In a parallel case, Foundation attorneys successfully secured reinstatement and back pay for Juan Vielma, a security guard for AKAL Security in El Paso, whom union officials had had illegally suspended without pay for over a year for refusal to pay dues. Agreeing with Foundation attorneys, a federal Administrative Law Judge ruled that SPFPA union officials had no legal authority to compel Vielma to pay dues.