Foundation Attorneys Provide True “Justice for Janitors”
Foundation attorneys file federal charges on behalf of union-abused California janitors

September/October 2000 Issue

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys filed federal charges against a powerful California union for punishing 16 janitors, some of whom have been fined up to $500 each, for exercising their Right to Work during the so-called “Justice for Janitors” strike last April.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 bosses launched the “Justice for Janitors” campaign designed to shut down some of America’s largest cities. During the often-violent campaign, some Los Angeles janitors continued to go to work in order to feed their families.

Mean-spirited union bosses responded by demanding the janitors pay fines up to $500 or do slave labor.

“This case exposes the hypocrisy of SEIU union bosses’ so-called ‘Justice for Janitors’ campaign,” said Foundation Director of Legal Information Randy Wanke. “There will never be ‘Justice for Janitors’ as long as union bosses are allowed to use these vicious tactics.”

Foundation attorneys demand injunction

The janitors, who are employed by American Building Maintenance Janitorial Services Company and work at Paramount Studios, filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against SEIU Local 1877.

The charges state that the union officials violated the union’s “duty of fair representation” by failing to inform employees of their right not to pay full union dues and their right to refrain from union membership. The Foundation-won Communications Workers v. Beck decision explicitly prohibits union officials from requiring formal union membership or the payment of full union dues as a condition of employment. Later Foundation court victories require union officials to truthfully inform employees of these rights. Foundation attorneys are also demanding that the NLRB seek a federal court injunction to stop the union’s illegal demands and punishment.

Union bosses endorse slave labor

SEIU union officials have also brazenly demanded that janitors do so-called “community service” such as scrubbing floors at the union hall in lieu of paying the outrageous fines.

In an Associated Press news story about the plight of the janitors, an arrogant union boss flat-out admitted the janitors could avoid the fines by doing “chores.”

“Union bosses’ demands to scrub union floors as penance amount to slavery,” said Wanke.

SEIU has history of vicious tactics

In a similar 1997 case, SEIU Local 1877 sent threatening letters to janitors in Oakland, California, demanding they pay the forced dues, pay outrageous fines, or be fired. Foundation attorneys filed federal labor charges against union officials forcing them to rescind the illegal fines.

John Sweeney, president of the militant SEIU union before his coronation as AFL-CIO top czar, instigated a massive, nationwide organizing campaign that he labeled “Justice for Janitors.” The in-your-face campaign is vividly remembered for obstructing rush-hour traffic in Washington, DC, and harassing businesses in metropolitan areas such as Oakland and Los Angeles. SEIU officials – like those who attempted to drive the Los Angeles area janitors into poverty – proclaimed that only they could provide janitors with a decent livelihood.

“Boss John Sweeney has kicked his vicious tactics into high gear in order to flex AFL-CIO political muscle during this year’s election,” said Wanke. “With the aid of its supporters, the Foundation stands ready to battle Sweeney and his union goons at every turn.”


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