Judge: Casino worker wrongly pressured by union

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled in favor of a Las Vegas casino restaurant worker who said she was threatened with the loss of her benefits and her seniority if she didn’t pay dues to a powerful Las Vegas union.

In a May 2 decision from administrative law judge Dickie Montemayor, the board said officials with the Culinary and Bartenders Union had engaged in unfair labor practices against Nani Sugianto, a snack bar attendant at JJ’s Boulangerie at Paris Las Vegas. The unions were ordered to stop “restraining or coercing employees” in exercising their right to either join or stay out of a union.

They also must notify their members of the violation and publicly post notices informing workers of their rights.

Officials with the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision Friday morning.

According to the ruling, Sugianto had canceled her membership after she “determined that she could reap the benefits of the collective bargaining agreement without paying any union dues.”

In May 2013, when contract negotiations between the union and the casino heated up, a union organizer notified a shop steward that Sugianto wasn’t paying dues, according to the decision.

Sugianto said that the steward spoke with her while they were cooking pizza, telling her it would be bad for her family if she didn’t join the union and saying she would lose her insurance and benefits. She testified that the shop steward suggested she would return to doing the menial tasks of new hires.

The steward gave a different version of events, saying he told Sugianto it would be bad for all employees if a contract wasn’t struck.

Montemayor said Sugianto appeared to be the more credible witness.

Nevada is a right-to-work state, meaning workers can decide whether to join or financially support a union. In states without such laws, workers may be required to pay the union if it represents employees at their workplace.

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