You may recall that bit of unpleasantness in Texas earlier this year which resulted in a jury slapping the Service Employees International Union in the Lone Star State with a $7.8M dollar judgement. The union had been attempting to shut down a private janitorial company – Professional Janitorial Services of Houston, or PJS – because they wouldn’t switch over to a closed union shop. The dirty tactics they engaged in didn’t impress the jury at all and PJS won the day.
Since that time the union has been crying poverty and fighting to avoid releasing many of their internal documents. As the Free Beacon reports this week, their next move is to declare bankruptcy.
The union said that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection reflects the best interests of its members given the costly judgement.
“This 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,” SEIU Texas President Elsa Caballero said in a statement. “Bankruptcy is a common process provided under the law to protect organizations—such as corporations, non-profits, unions etc.—and allows us to seek temporary relief from our debt while we continue to pursue our appeal of an unfair judgment.”
We’ve been in touch with the CEO at PJS, Brent Southwell, at various times during these proceedings and it sounds like he’s not about to let the union off the hook that easily. Both Brent and the company’s president, Floyd Mahanay, released statements which indicate that they’re not done with the SEIU in any way, shape or form.
“The SEIU won’t escape its fate after attacking my company,” stated Brent Southwell, CEO of PJS Houston. “We will keep this process going for as long as the SEIU wants, first by making them reveal their secrets and then by making the union’s Washington, DC office pay for its sins.”
“The jury determined SEIU owes PJS a lot of money, and there is no way they can pretend to be broke based on what we now know,” stated PJS president Floyd Mahanay. “The only question is how long they want to drag this out while we make sure every business in Texas joins our cause.”
This begs an interesting question in terms of the pending settlement and disclosure of union documents. Can the Texas chapter of an international union such as this claim that they are completely financially independent from the larger parent organization? It’s questionable enough to hear that an organization the size of the SEIU has an operation in one of the largest and highest employment rate states in the nation which can’t scrape together less than eight million dollars. But as the PJS executives point out, they should be able to extract the judgement from the union’s Washington headquarters even if that’s the case.
An organization which handed out more than $13M to Democrats just during the current election cycle (along with other huge checks going to lobbyists) really shouldn’t be claiming empty pockets. And if they do manage to convince anyone that the cupboards are bare, they should obviously be forced to turn over all of their internal records to prove it. Hrm… I wonder what sort of mysteries and wonders would turn up from that sort of discovery.