Case underscores need for Massachusetts Right to Work law
Boston, MA (February 14, 2013) – Workers caught in a battle between a local union and Lynn-based Complete Cleaning, Inc. have won a federal settlement from the union after union officials illegally claimed to have monopoly bargaining privileges over the workers.
The settlement stems from federal unfair labor practice charges filed by Complete Cleaning worker Jairo Hernandez of Lynn against Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 615. Hernandez filed the charges with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
SEIU Local 615 officials tried to claim monopoly bargaining privileges over Complete Cleaning's workers even though workers nearly unanimously oppose the union hierarchy in their workplace. Under federal law, it is illegal for a union to claim monopoly bargaining powers over a workplace without support of the employees.
Furthermore, the SEIU filed federal charges against Complete Cleaning in an attempt to force the employer to negotiate a contract with the union. The workers feared that, because Massachusetts does not have a Right to Work law making union dues payments strictly voluntary, SEIU officials would have demanded a contract that would force Complete Cleaning's workers into union dues payments against their will.
Hernandez filed the charges for himself and his coworkers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in Boston. The settlement requires the SEIU union hierarchy to stop trying to claim monopoly bargaining powers over the workers unless and until it can show that it has majority employee support.
"“SEIU officials attempted to exploit their special government-granted privilege to clean these Complete Cleaning workers' pockets of forced union dues," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "Massachusetts needs a Right to Work law to make it less difficult for workers to keep predatory union bosses in check."
Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for employees. Public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.