NEW YORK — Labor union Workers United reports that it has filed criminal complaints against Aramark Corp., accusing the company of stealing from its employees by collecting union dues from paychecks without turning them over to their union.
Aramark claims that a labor dispute between Workers United and UNITE HERE makes it unclear which union should get the dues, so it’s holding them in escrow until the issue is sorted out.
Until recently, many Aramark workers across the country organized with UNITE HERE, but in March, the union split into two factions, citing irreconcilable differences. One retained the UNITE HERE name, while the other, called Workers United, became a branch of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The two unions have been at odds over members’ loyalties and dues since then.
“Aramark is neutral on this dispute, so we, like other companies, are looking for guidance from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),” Kristine Grow, senior director of communications for Aramark, told The Packer, a produce-industry trade publication. “In the meantime, we’re continuing to take dues and place them in an escrow account, and those dues will be provided to the proper union.”
A series of 12 NLRB decisions concluded that employers in 10 different regions of the country must recognize Workers United affiliates as the collective bargaining representative for their employees, Workers United says.
“There is now an overwhelming pattern of decisions by the NLRB and many of its regional directors that makes clear that Aramark and all other employers are best served by maintaining the normal pattern of representation and labor relations we have established with them over many years,” Bruce Raynor, president of Workers United, said in a statement. “Those, like Aramark, who refuse to do so will face a vigorous effort by our union and its membership to defend their rights.”