By NFIB, Special for USDR.
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Texas, the state’s leading small business association, is celebrating member and leadership council representative Brent Southwell, CEO of PJS Houston, for winning a 10-year charge against labor unions unfairly targeting small and independent business. A Houston jury ordered the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to pay Professional Janitorial Services (PJS) Houston $5.3 million in damages for making false claims about the company’s business practices and treatment of PJS employees.
“This is a big day for employers across the country, as this case sets a precedent in bringing to an end smear campaigns and bullying employed by unions,” said NFIB/Texas Legislative Director Annie Spilman. “The Chicago-based SEIU didn’t care that Mr. Southwell built his business from the ground up, just out of college. They didn’t care about his employees, many of whom Mr. Southwell employed for years and have worked their way up in the company. The SEIU just sought market penetration in Texas, and PJS was their way in. The great lengths SEIU went to in order to destroy not just PJS and it’s 1600 employees, but Mr. Southwell and his family personally, is the most disreputable, inexcusable thing I’ve ever been privyv to.”
The case detailed false claims SEIU filed through Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaints, a frivolous class action lawsuit, falsified documents and statements, and schemes against PJS Houston. This kind of assault by labor unions on small and independent business is a threat to the economic backbone of Texas, as business owners lose time and money through a process like the one PJS Houston has withstood.
“The jury found what PJS and its employees have known for more than a decade, which is that the SEIU is a corrupt organization that is rotten to its core,” stated Brent Southwell, CEO of PJS Houston. “The next step is to ensure the union is removed from Texas and sent packing back to Chicago.”
NFIB/Texas intends to support legislation in the next session that will take the Texas government out of collecting dues for unions. Opponents of this practice say that, although voluntary, allowing the state or local government to collect dues on behalf of any group (that sits across from the bargaining table), creates a conflict of interest and is essentially a de facto endorsement of their policy positions. By cutting out the government as the ‘middle-man,’ employees who would like to join a union or association will pay that group directly.
NFIB/Texas has 21,000 dues-paying members representing a cross-section of the state’s economy from agriculture, construction, and manufacturing to wholesale, retail, and services. Additionally, NFIB/Texas membership is 96 percent comprised of businesses who have 40 employees or less and is the largest association advocating for small business in the Capitol.