Park MGM Bartender Wins Back Pay After Being Illegally Fired Because of UNITE HERE Union “Pour Card” Scheme
Labor Board settlement reinstates worker to position with seniority and provides $5,000 in back wages following NLRB unfair labor practice charges
Las Vegas, NV (November 27, 2018) – A Park MGM casino bartender has won a settlement from Park MGM and Bartenders Union Local 165 officials after she filed federal unfair labor practice (ULP) charges. Bartender Natalie Ruisi, who was fired for not having a union “pour card,” is receiving $5,000 in back wages and being reinstated as a result of the settlement.
With free legal assistance by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Ruisi filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Park MGM, formerly Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, and Bartenders Union Local 165, affiliated with UNITE HERE International Union. Aramark, the contractor who hired Ruisi, was also charged and agreed to the settlement.
In addition to paying $5,000 in back wages, the settlement required Aramark and Park MGM to reinstate Ruisi to her previous position with her original seniority. Union officials further agreed not to process any grievances from other workers who might challenge Ruisi’s position on the seniority list.
After Ruisi was hired in November 2016, Aramark management informed Ruisi that UNITE HERE union officials would represent all employees at the Park Theater, located at the casino.
Ruisi and a number of her co-workers were fired on January 12, 2017. Ruisi was told that she and her co-workers were terminated because they did not possess a “union pour card.” The bargaining agreement required bartenders, even those who work for subcontractors, to acquire a “pour card” that could only be obtained through union officials at significant expense to workers who exercised their rights under federal law and state law to refrain from joining and financially supporting the union.
When Ruisi was hired, a union card was not a requirement or condition of employment, and Ruisi was never even given the opportunity to acquire a union card. Moreover, Nevada’s longstanding Right to Work law makes it illegal for any employee to be forced to join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
“This victory for Ms. Ruisi serves as a warning to Las Vegas union bosses that union-only ‘certification’ schemes to undermine Nevada’s Right to Work law will not be tolerated,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. “Nevada’s Right to Work law means every employee in the state can choose individually whether or not to join and pay dues to a union. Unfortunately, there is reason to believe countless other Las Vegas workers have been similarly victimized.”
Workers can contact the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for free legal aid by calling 1-800-336-3600, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the Legal Aid Request form on its website: www.nrtw.org