A jury in Houston handed a victory to Professional Janitorial Services in its decade-long court case against the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU). The Harris County jury ordered the politically active labor union by a 10-2 vote to pay $5.3 million in damages to PJS in compensation for the union’s campaign to drive away the company’s business. SEIU was engaged in its “Kill PJS” campaign for three years to effectively shut down the private business. By implementing a treble strategy of filing baseless lawsuits, media collaboration
, and planting employees who sought to drive business away from PJS.
“The jury found what PJS and its employees have known for more than a decade, which is that SEIU is a corrupt organization that is rotten to its core,” said Brent Southwell, CEO of PJS, according to a September 6 report. “The next step is to ensure the union is removed from Texas and sent packing back to Chicago.”
$3 million to fight SEIU in court
Southwell was asked how he felt after the announcement of the verdict on September 6, “Great, but I’m worn out. It’s been a long, long fight. I’ve spent over $3 million over this time. We couldn’t tell the jury that, so the fact that they gave us the amount we’ve asked for is really great.”
Founded decades ago in Chicago, the SEIU is now based in Washington DC. It enjoys deep ties to the Obama administration and Chicago-native Hillary Clinton.
During a four-week long trial, jurors heard testimony about false allegations, smear campaign, and threats that issued forth from SEIU against PJS. SEIU undertook the assault because PJS refused to allow the union to organize PJS employees without a secret ballot election process.
Possible perjury by union officials
PJS said in a statement that its attorneys “will now ask local prosecutors to investigate apparent perjury by union officials and an attorney who testified in the trial, and will increase its efforts with state legislators to remove the SEIU from eligibility in state-provided union dues collection programs.”
This trial marks the first time ever that SEIU’s tactics were aired before a jury. Other companies have sought instead to settle their difficulties with SEIU out of court.
SEIU had secured collective bargaining rights for five large janitorial companies in Houston, but the union would not agree to a secret ballot election. The “Guide to the Houston Political Journal” explains, “Because statistics show that secret ballot elections, where employees are free to vote their conscience without fear or intimidation or reprisal, are rarely, if ever successful. Collecting signatures via union cards is much easier as cards can be obtained fraudulently and forged easily. So the stage is set, PJS says no ballot, no election, and the SEIU decides to make an example of them for the market to see.”
Labor union pushes businesses into bankruptcy
The SEIU organizers “use pressure on corporate boardrooms as a means of organizing entire companies nationwide rather than recruiting workers on a site-by-site basis,” wrote attorney F. Vincent Vernuccio. “In short, to organize employers rather than employees. To create this pressure, unions attempt to push businesses to the edge of bankruptcy, with little regard for the welfare of employer and employee.”
PJS filed a civil lawsuit against the SEIU for defaming and discrediting PJS with false and misleading propaganda
. During the trial, the SEIU’s “Contract Campaign Manual” was revealed, detailing illegal methods to intimidate businesses. The Contract Campaign Manual showed how “outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.”
SEIU organizers were not above breaking the law, according to the manual. “It may be a violation of blackmail and extortion laws to threaten management officials with release of ‘dirt’ about them if they don’t settle a contract,” the manual said, “But there is no law against union members who are angry at their employer deciding to uncover and publicize factual information about individual managers.”
Among the recommended tactics used by SEIU organizers were accusations of racism, sexism, or poor treatment of immigrants to be lain against employers by distributing pamphlets.
An alternate juror in the case asked the Houston Chronicle, “If the union was strictly interested in the well-being of the workers, why would it try to put the company these workers are working for out of business?”