The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a formal complaint against security contractor Roman Security, which provides security services for the Newark Housing Authority.
The Board asserts that the contractor wrongfully terminated two former employees; Talisha Cooper and Kariymah Berrian. Both workers, who are members of 32BJ SEIU—the labor union that filed the charges against Roman Security last summer—lost their jobs after they engaged in union activity which involved circulating a petition to speak out against their employer for issuing multiple paychecks that couldn’t be cashed by the bank due to insufficient funds.
“It was so disheartening and stressful to find out that the bank would not cash my check due to lack of funds when I worked for Roman Security. This caused a financial hardship for me and my three children,” said Kariymah Berrian, a single mother from Newark. “Then, literally days after I filled out a union questionnaire about these paycheck issues, I was fired on November 16, 2015. This sounds like anti-union retaliation to me.”
“I was terminated out of the blue, with no warning and no just cause on February 9, 2016,” said Talisha Cooper, a former Roman Security officer at a NHA residential building. “Making matters worse, I was not able to collect unemployment because unemployment insurance was not collected from my paychecks. This left me in a dire situation where money was so tight there were times I went hungry. With the help of my union, 32BJ, I have found another job and been able to fight Roman Security for wrongfully terminating me.”
32BJ also filed charges against Roman Security for refusing to hire union employees who had been working at 744 Broad Street before Roman Security took over the contract there in 2016. Shortly afterwards, seven other workers were hired at a reduced pay rate.
“Union busting is illegal and Roman Security should pay the price for this allegedly discriminatory action taken against our union workers,” said Kevin Brown, Vice President and NJ State Director of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property services worker union in the country. “The NLRB has found enough evidence to move forward with this case. And when we have our day in court, I am confident Roman Security will be held accountable.”
The union said that as part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, the NLRB General Council seeks back pay, reinstatement and reimbursement for consequential damages incurred as a result of the contractor’s unlawful actions. A hearing on this matter has been scheduled for June 27th at 9:30am at 20 Washington Place, 5th floor, Newark.