Two L.A. Int’l Airport janitors won a monetary settlement Oct. 2 against the Service Employees Int’l Union Local 1877 in a federal case pending against the union as a result of its systematic refusal to honor the workers’ right to object to union membership and forced dues. With the help of Nat’l Right to Work Legal Defense Fdn. attorneys, the airport employees, Lidia Acevedo and Amarilis Barrientos-Sosa, forced Local 1877 officials to settle a pair of federal unfair labor practice charges filed with the Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. against Local 1877 in Mar. The NLRB complaint alleged that union bosses were guilty of coercing nonmember workers into paying full membership dues.
According to the settlement agreement, the union bosses must refund membership dues unlawfully deducted from the employees’ paychecks after they resigned their union memberships. Union bosses must also post notices, in English and Spanish, informing all LAX janitors of their right to object to union membership and the payment of full dues. Under Supreme Court’s Communications Workers of Am. v. Beck decision, employees may halt and reclaim all union dues spent on politics and other activities unrelated to the union’s proven collective bargaining costs.
NRTW attorneys hope to soon force a settlement in another set of cases on behalf of L.A. janitors harassed by SEIU Local 1877 officials. During its so-called “Justice for Janitors” strike last year, the union hierarchy fined sixteen janitors up to $500 each for exercising their right to continue working during the strike. [NRTW Media Release 10/3/01]