Workers allege SEIU officials made harassing phone calls to nonmembers
San Francisco, CA (July 18, 2014) – A local security guard has filed a federal charge against a San Francisco-based union for violating his and his coworkers' rights.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Universal Protection Service security guard Daniel Ozabuki filed the unfair labor practice charge for himself and seven others against Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 24/7.
The guards are all employed by Universal Protection Service, which has been party to a monopoly bargaining agreement with Local 24/7 since the company took over for the previous security contractor, Guard Maintenance Services Corporation. Guard Maintenance Services also had a monopoly bargaining agreement with the union.
Because California lacks a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payments strictly voluntary, workers can be forced to pay union dues and fees as a condition of employment. However, under Foundation-won U.S. Supreme Court precedent, workers who refrain from union membership can also refrain from paying for union politics and members-only events.
Ozabuki and at least four other security guards have refrained from union membership for several years. In February 2012, some of the then-Guard Maintenance Services workers reached a settlement with SEIU officials regarding an earlier round of charges. The settlement required the union to allow nonmember workers to opt out of paying for union activities unrelated to workplace bargaining.
However, after SEIU officials entered into a contract with Universal Protection, the union has again forced the workers into full dues payments despite the workers' repeated attempts to refrain. The workers also allege that SEIU union officials are making harassing phone calls to nonmembers.
Three additional workers have detailed how SEIU officials kept them in the dark about their right to refrain from formal union membership and full dues payments.
"SEIU bosses are resorting to deception and even outright intimidation to force workers into full dues paying union ranks," said Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "The best solution to break the SEIU bosses' pattern of rights abuses is for California to enact a Right to Work law making union membership and dues payment strictly voluntary."
Twenty-four states have Right to Work protections for workers. Recent public polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans and union members support the Right to Work principle of voluntary unionism.