RICO lawsuit stuns SEIU

Wackenhut Corp. filed a racketeering lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union over its attempts to organize the security company's 32,000 workers nationwide.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges the union launched a "malicious, international corporate campaign" against Wackenhut in October 2003 after the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., company refused its organizing demands. The campaign is designed to "strong-arm" Wackenhut into signing labor agreements, the lawsuit says.

Wackenhut, a unit of London's Group 4 Securicor PLC, seeks an injunction and an award in the millions of dollars for damages.

The company, which provides security at many of the U.S.'s nuclear-power plants, says it has refused to recognize SEIU because it is a "mixed" union that admits janitors, hospital workers and other service workers in addition to security guards, according to the lawsuit. It said it recognizes and negotiates collective-bargaining agreements with "guard-only" unions, except for three situations in which Wackenhut obtained contracts at work sites where mixed unions were already in place.

Wackenhut and its subsidiaries are parties to about 35 collective-bargaining agreements with six guard-only unions, according to the complaint.

In a written release, Valarie Long, director of SEIU's property-services division, said that "in the last month alone, Wackenhut security lapses were confirmed at one nuclear-power plant and Wackenhut guards were caught sleeping on the job at another nuclear-power plant.

"Instead of addressing the problems that lead to security lapse after security lapse, Wackenhut fights its employees' efforts to improve security," Ms. Long said. "As long as Wackenhut continues to oversee lax security at nuclear-power plants and other sensitive sites and undermine efforts by SEIU and others to raise the standards of private security in America, SEIU will continue to tell the truth about Wackenhut's record."

Wackenhut and Group 4 Securicor representatives couldn't be reached for comment on Ms. Long's statement.


No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails