Union ‘representation’ was imposed on workers without a vote, after which non-member employees were fired in violation of federal law
Las Vegas, NV (February 21, 2017) – A Las Vegas bartender has filed federal Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Aramark and the UNITE-HERE Local 165 union after the Local 165 union officials illegally had her fired from her position for not having a “union pour card.” The ULP charges were filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 28 office in Las Vegas, NV.
In November 2016, Natalie Ruisi was hired by Aramark, a concessions contractor, to be a bartender for the then soon to open Park Theater located in the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. In December, Ruisi was informed by Aramark management that the Aramark employees at the Park Theater would be represented by union officials from UNITE-HERE Local 165.
The workers at the Park Theater had never voted on whether or not to join the union. As the charge notes, no evidence exists that a majority of the workers support UNITE-HERE Local 165 as their monopoly bargaining agent. It is illegal for a union and company to agree to an exclusive union contract when union officials have not offered any proof that they are supported by at least a majority of the workers in a workplace.
On January 12, 2017, Ruisi and a number of her co-workers were fired. Ruisi was told that she and her co-workers were being fired because they did not possess a “union pour card.” When she was hired, a union card was not a requirement or condition of employment, and Ruisi was never even given the opportunity to acquire a union card. Of course, Nevada’s longstanding Right to Work law makes it illegal for any employee to be forced to join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
The charges allege that Aramark’s actions in collusion with UNITE-HERE union officials violate Ruisi and her co-workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Specifically, the charges note that, by recognizing a minority union and firing workers for not possessing prior union certification, Aramark has deliberately provided unlawful assistance to UNITE-HERE union officials, and that. UNITE-HERE union bosses likewise violated the NLRA by accepting monopoly bargaining agent status over workers without any demonstration of majority support.
“As this case shows, Right to Work laws are only words on paper unless they are vigorously enforced. Ms. Ruisi was hired to fulfill a job, and was summarily fired without warning simply for not possessing a union card,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “It is shameful that union bosses fired a worker for simply expressing her long protected rights under Nevada’s Right to Work law which has been in place for over 65 years.”
Foundation attorneys are also assisting Ruisi in a second case, originally filed in 2014, that is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In that case, Ruisi and her fellow plaintiffs are appealing an NLRB decision upholding an unwritten UNITE-HERE policy that inhibits workers seeking to revoke dues-checkoff.
The union policy at issue in that case requires members to submit a written request for the union to provide them with information about the date that they signed their dues-checkoff authorization cards, which serves no purpose except to obstruct workers from exercising their legally protected rights. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for March 14, 2017.
Including the charges filed for Natalie Ruisi, Foundation staff attorneys currently have over 90 legal actions for employees before the National Labor Relations Board and its regional offices.
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.