Ken Paxton

Monday, August 13, 2007

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Obtains Permanent Injunction Against El Paso Employer in Right-to-Work Case

EL PASO Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Friday secured a permanent injunction against an El Paso employer that unlawfully forced workers to join a labor union in violation of the state’s right-to-work laws.

The agreed final judgment, filed in the 171st Judicial District Court in El Paso, prohibits Deco-Akal JV and related affiliates from enforcing unlawful provisions in the collective bargaining agreement the company entered into with the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) and the union’s Local 725 chapter.

The law guarantees important right-to-work protections for Texas workers, Attorney General Abbott said. This judgment ensures that Deco-Akal employees have the right to work without being forced to join a labor union or pay union dues. The Office of the Attorney General will aggressively enforce Texas’ right-to-work laws and will take all necessary measures to protect workers’ freedom from compulsory union membership.

Deco-Akal, which provides security services to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service Processing Center in El Paso, must refrain from enforcing a union security clause that requires employees to join SPFPA or pay membership dues as a condition of employment. Deco-Akal is also prohibited from including the clause in future collective bargaining agreements and must post written notice to current employees that the clause will no longer be enforced.

Under today’s agreement, Deco-Akal also confirmed that they have reinstated security guard Juan Vielma and repaid his lost wages and benefits. Deco-Akal had indefinitely suspended Vielma after he refused to pay his contractually mandated SPFPA membership dues.

In July, the Office of the Attorney filed a lawsuit against SPFPA, Local 725, and Deco-Akal, for violating the state’s right-to-work law. Under the Texas Labor Code, employers are prohibited from denying employment to workers who decline to join or make payments to a labor union. The Attorney General’s case against the union is still pending.