GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov 5, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — A union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) used contract negotiations to punish two employees who supported a rival union, according to a recent complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The NLRB complaint alleges that the Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, committed unfair labor practices by negotiating to insert new language in a labor contract that reduced the pay and work opportunities of the employees, Sharron Rodrigue and Tina Mayotte. Both are Sodexo employees who work in cafeteria and catering jobs at Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. The NLRB is the independent federal agency empowered to protect employees’ rights to join a union and to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private sector employers or unions.
After an investigation, NLRB found there was enough evidence to support the employees’ allegations that Workers United engaged in illegal conduct against them in retaliation for their support of a rival union, Local 471-UNITE HERE. The NLRB complaint specifically alleges that during negotiations for a new contract in May 2010, Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, demanded new contract language that reduced the vacation pay of Rodrigue. The SEIU affiliate also demanded new contract language requiring that catering assignments be made based on seniority, which reduced the work opportunities and pay of Mayotte, according to the NLRB.
The NLRB alleges that the SEIU affiliate engaged in this illegal conduct to retaliate against Rodrigue and Mayotte, who supported Local 471-UNITE HERE, and also “to discourage other employees from supporting” Local 471-UNITE HERE. By this conduct, the union “has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercising of rights guaranteed” under federal labor laws, according to the complaint. As part of the remedy for the alleged unfair labor practices, the NLRB is seeking to have Workers United pay lost wages, with interest, to the affected workers.
The SEIU affiliate must file its answer to the complaint by November 10, 2010. The NLRB has scheduled a hearing on the complaint before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge for Jan. 10, 2011, in Albany, NY.
Although the two employees worked for Sodexo, the company was not accused by the employees or the NLRB of any illegal conduct and was not named by the NLRB as a party in the complaint.