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Texas SEIU files for bankruptcy in wake of lawsuit judgment (Read More…)

By L.M. Sixel - December 5, 2016

The Service Employees International Union in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend, three months after a jury in Harris County hit it with a $5.3 million judgment.

Jurors in the 9-year-old case determined the union’s aggressive organizing campaign maligned Professional Janitorial Service, a commercial cleaning company.

The Texas branch of the nation’s second-largest labor union filed the bankruptcy petition Saturday in federal court in Corpus Christi. The union also filed notice with the Harris County court hearing the case that the bankruptcy petition will prevent the janitorial company from taking possession of property belonging to the union.

Since the jury’s decision in September, damages in the case have grown to $7.8 million when $2.5 million of interest was added.

The state-wide union, which has headquarters in Houston, warned that the judgment would put the group into a dire financial situation.

“This (bankruptcy) filing ensures that our union will remain open for business, representing members at the bargaining table and maintaining the vital role the union plays in helping working Houstonians have a voice at work, protecting them from unfair employers, and building a better future for their families,” according to a written statement from Elsa Caballero, president of SEIU Texas.

The union is appealing the judgment, saying its effort to organize the Houston janitors at Professional Janitorial Service was protected by free speech rights and federal labor law.

SEIU had targeted the company as part of its “Justice for Janitors” organizing campaign and wrongly claimed Professional Janitorial Service had violated wage, overtime and other labor laws, the jury found. The $5.3 million verdict represented damages the janitorial company faced when it lost clients, it said.

Posted by Admin on 12/05 at 09:56 AM