News Release

Nonunion Worker Challenges San Diego’s Discriminatory School Construction Scheme

Right to Work attorneys argue pact between San Diego school district and union officials intends to illegally coerce workers into union ranks

San Diego, CA (October 7, 2009) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys today filed federal unfair labor practice charges against local area unions for establishing a discriminatory, union-only construction scheme with the San Diego Unified School District. The agreement enriches union officials, punishes nonunion workers and employers, and sticks taxpayers with the bill.

The discrimination against nonunion construction workers is facilitated by a so-called “Project Labor Agreement” (PLA) – essentially a collective bargaining agreement signed by contractors as a condition of performing work on a government-funded construction project. Arguing that the PLA between the school district and various unions (including the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO) illegally discriminates against construction workers who exercise their right to refrain from union membership, Foundation attorneys are defending the interests of the vast majority of construction employees in California who have opted against unionization.

Last November, San Diego voters approved a $2.1 billion school bond, called Proposition S. California law requires that all qualified contractors’ employees complete state-mandated “apprenticeship” programs, but it is illegal under federal law to discriminate against workers or businesses on account of union association. The discriminatory PLA, however, requires workers to go through union-run apprenticeship programs (disqualifying high quality training programs run by employers and other groups), and the subcontracting clause further attempts to coerce even more workers into union ranks.

Foundation attorneys are providing free legal aid to and filing the federal charges for Wesley Fuller, a Brady Company employee who hangs drywall and has completed all state apprenticeship requirements, and all similarly situated employees. But, because Fuller’s particular apprenticeship program was not established through union monopoly bargaining, he is being illegally denied access to employment.

“San Diego residents approved funding for schools, not payoffs to union bosses,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Public agencies owe it to the taxpayers to award contracts to those who will do the best work at the best price, not those who work with bureaucrats to shove a union down their workers’ throats.”

“These union bosses are trying to prevent hard-working, independent-minded employees like Wesley Fuller from providing for their families,” continued Gleason.

The National Labor Relations Board regional director in San Diego will now investigate the charges and determine whether to prosecute the unions before an administrative law judge.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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