Union bosses filed collection suit illegally demanding dues payments from nonmember employee for period when there was no union contract in effect
Newark, NJ (December 11, 2019) – With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Newark, New Jersey-based security guards Andrei Bobev and William Sona have won a settlement against United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union bosses, whom they charged with illegally demanding union dues from them while there was no contract in effect between the employer and union. The settlement was approved by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 22 in Newark.
As part of the settlement, UGSOA officials are required to refund to Sona and six coworkers more than $4,000 in dues and fees that were taken from them illegally, and notify Bobev that they will not continue a civil lawsuit they filed against him to force him to pay illegal union dues after he refused to do so. Bobev and Sona are not members of the UGSOA.
Bobev first sought the aid of Foundation staff attorneys after Paragon Systems took over the federal contract for security services at the U.S. Courthouse in Newark. USGOA bosses, who under the old contractor had monopoly bargaining power over the security guards at the courthouse, demanded that employees continue to pay them dues and fees even though a contract had not yet been finalized between the union and Paragon. Bobbev declined to pay the illegally-demanded dues, and filed federal charges with the NLRB against UGSOA officials with National Right to Work Foundation legal aid.
NLRB Region 22 officials dismissed Bobev’s charges, and UGSOA officials shortly after retaliated against him with a civil lawsuit in an attempt to force him into paying the illegal dues. However, the NLRB General Counsel in Washington reversed Region 22’s dismissal and instructed regional officials to prosecute Bobev’s charge.
Sona and other nonmembers were misled by union officials and started paying illegal dues and fees while there was no monopoly bargaining contract in effect between Paragon and the UGSOA union. With the current settlement, he and six of his fellow security guards will receive back all the money that they paid to UGSOA bosses during that period, plus interest.
UGSOA officials are also required by the settlement to post notices at union headquarters and at all of Paragon Systems’ Newark locations. The notices declare that union bosses “will not threaten to cause [the] employer to discharge [employees] for failure to pay dues and/or service fees” when there is no monopoly bargaining contract in effect, and “will not threaten to enforce [the union’s] by-laws and constitution against non-members by threatening to institute civil proceedings” to force them to pay dues or fees.
“Although this settlement finally provides Mr. Bobev, Mr. Sona, and their coworkers with remedies for illegal union boss actions, it is outrageous that UGSOA officials believed they could enforce their coercive bylaws on workers without having legal power over any one of them in the absence of a contract,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “A Right to Work law would stop coercive union boss activity in New Jersey by giving workers the right to voluntarily choose whether or not to join or financially support a union.”
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.