Miami, Fla. (April 6, 2004) — Three nonunion security officers at the Miami Federal Courthouse hit United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Union Local 131 officials with a lawsuit today for illegally ordering them to pay union dues to keep their jobs in violation of state law.
With free legal aid from attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Cynthia Vitale and two coworkers filed the lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Dade County, Florida. The security guards allege UGSOA officials’ actions violated Florida’s Right to Work law, which prohibits the practice of forcing employees to join or pay dues to an unwanted union.
“UGSOA officials’ actions show they are more concerned with stuffing their coffers with union dues than respecting the rights of employees they seek to ‘represent,’” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation.
Beginning in May 2003, UGSOA union officials posted several notices at the Miami Federal Courthouse claiming all security officers were required to either join the union or pay a non-member agency fee equivalent to 95% of full union dues. Vitale and her coworkers assert that UGSOA officials used the notices in order to pressure nonunion members into the union against their will.
Some of the notices also falsely claimed that the security officers worked on federal property and thus were not protected by Florida’s Right to Work law and could therefore be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. While it is true that those employed on “exclusive federal property” are not covered by a state Right to Work law, only one such property exists in Miami, and Vitale and her coworkers perform the vast majority of their work on other properties.
“These bully tactics demonstrate why the vast majority of Florida workers are fortunate to labor in freedom and under the protections of a Right to Work Law,” stated Gleason.
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 around 250 cases nationwide per year.