SPFPA union will pay thousands of dollars in refunds of dues illegally taken from guards to end federal Labor Board case against the union
Las Vegas, NV (November 5, 2020) – With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, Las Vegas security guard Justin Stephens and his coworkers have won a settlement against the Security, Police & Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) union, which they charged in April with seizing dues from their paychecks in violation of their legal rights. As part of the settlement, union bosses are required to refund more than $4,200 to two dozen security guards, including Stephens, whose timely resignations from union membership and attempts to cut off dues deductions were rejected by union officials who hastily extended their monopoly bargaining agreement with the guards’ employer.
According to Stephens’ charge filed at Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Phoenix, SPFPA officials extended the bargaining contract with Stephens’ employer, North American Security, on January 31, 2020. The extension occurred one day after Stephens and the vast majority of his fellow employees at the federal courthouse in Las Vegas sent letters to the union stating that they no longer wanted it as the monopoly bargaining agent in their workplace.
The charge explained that Stephens later submitted a batch of letters to SPFPA officials in which he and his fellow employees tried to exercise their rights to resign union membership and stop dues deductions from their paychecks. These letters were sent just before the previous contract between North American Security and the SPFPA was supposed to expire, on March 31, within the period when the employees could lawfully end dues deductions. Because Nevada has enacted Right to Work protections for its employees, union bosses are forbidden from requiring any employee to join or pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment.
The charge asserted that the union “did not acknowledge the timely revocation the employees made on the anniversary” of the contract, ostensibly because the union officials’ hurried contract extension eliminated any opportunity the employees had to cut off union dues before the existing contract’s March 31 expiration.
SPFPA bosses kept collecting full union dues “from all non-member bargaining unit employees” in violation of their right under the National Labor Relations Act to refrain from union activities and support, according to the charge. Stephens’ charge also asserted that the unions’ sudden extension of the monopoly bargaining contract after the workers notified the union about their opposition amounted to “an apparent attempt to avoid a decertification” vote to remove the union.
The settlement requires SPFPA officials to process any timely resignations by security guards and notify North American Security to cease dues deductions from those whose resignations they have already processed. SPFPA bosses must also return all dues seized from Stephens’ and his coworkers’ paychecks in violation of their rights. In the future, the settlement stipulates, union officials must always “accept and timely process” resignations and requests to cut off dues.
“It’s good news that Mr. Stephens and his hardworking colleagues have gotten back dues that were illegally taken from them by SPFPA union bosses who have demonstrated they are more interested in stuffing their coffers with union dues than respecting the wishes of the rank-and-file workers they claim to ‘represent,’” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “This type of legal trickery used by union bosses to stay in power even over the objections of most workers shows why the NLRB should eliminate the numerous policies that block workers from voting out or otherwise removing an unwanted union.”
“Ultimately, the root of this problem is the federal labor law which grants union bosses monopoly bargaining powers, allowing them to force their so-called ‘representation’ on individual workers who don’t want it and believe they would be better off without it,” added Mix.
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.