Friday, May 9, 2014 | 2:51 p.m.
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 benefits and seniority if she didn't rejoin her union and pay dues.
In a May 2 decision from administrative law judge Dickie Montemayor, the board said officials with the Culinary and Bartenders Unions had engaged in unfair labor practices against Nani Sugianto, a snack bar attendant at JJ's Boulangerie in 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 unions did not immediately respond Friday morning to a request for comment on the decision.
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 unions and the casino heated up, a union organizer notified a shop steward that Sugianto wasn't paying dues, according to the decision.
Sugianto said 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. Sugianto testified 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.