A long-dormant abutment rights case at the National Activity Relations Lath is actuality revived, with the abeyant to pit the not-so-powerful federal activity bureau adjoin the actual able King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, autocrat of oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
Directly at affair is the appropriate to adapt a abutment for advisers at the Islamic Saudi Academy, a clandestine academy for grades K-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. Close by Washington, D.C.’s Admiral Row, the Academy has continued operated to brainwash the accouchement of Saudi Arabian adept staffers stationed at the country’s sprawling U.S. embassy.
A move to adapt the Islamic Saudi Academy Employee Professional Association (ISAEA) abutment was launched in 2012, but was chock-full algid by an advancing acknowledged argue from Academy lawyers, according to NLRB documents.
After actuality snagged in acknowledged issues for three years, the case has been active with a September 1 accommodation by NLRB Regional Director Charles Posner that disqualified that some of the Academy’s advisers could go advanced with their acclimation effort, but others could not. Posner’s accommodation may not advice any of the workers, however, because best of the union’s supporters acquire already absent their jobs, and the Academy is ascent its action adjoin the NLRB, claiming, amid added things, that U.S. activity law does not administer because the Academy is an arm of the Saudi aristocratic kingdom.
“It was consistently a actual boxy case. You are about activity up adjoin the government of Saudi Arabia,” says Tyler Freiberger, the bounded advocate currently apery the workers. All of the Academy advisers who were about associated with the 2012 acclimation drive were “terminated,” he reports, so it is adamantine to see how the acclimation drive can be auspiciously re-started.
Most of the agents is assassin beneath one-year contracts, he explains, and none of the affairs for the articulate abutment supports were renewed afterwards 2013. Freiberger is now aggravating to arouse the broadcast ex-employees to adjudge on how best to proceed.
Even if the workers accomplish in regrouping, the accouter is still ample adjoin them, Freiberger continues. The Saudi Academy assassin the cher all-embracing law close Latham & Watkins to action the union, he says, and they are employing the atypical affirmation that the Adopted Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) exempts the Academy from any NLRB administration at all.
The altercation holds that the Academy is an addendum of the admiral itself and accordingly advantaged to the appropriate adept status. As afresh as September 29, Latham & Watkins advocate Maureen E. Mahoney argued that “the Academy is not affianced in ‘commercial activity’ and appropriately the FSIA confined the [NLRB] Lath from appliance administration in this matter.”
Freiberger says he takes affair with the FSIA claim. The Academy operates aloof like any added clandestine school, accepting charge money and fees from parents in acknowledgment for accouterment educational services, and appropriately should be advised beneath activity law aloof like any added clandestine school, he says. But the FSIA affirmation has never been absolutely activated in court, so Latham & Watkins has an aperture to potentially annoyance the case through the courts for years.
“They’ve fabricated it bright they’ll booty this all the way to Supreme Cloister if they acquire to,” he says. “Given the abysmal pockets of the Saudi government, I don’t agnosticism them for a minute.”
The NLRB itself doesn’t acquire the FSIA affirmation either, the activity advocate notes, and the lath has auspiciously fought several agnate claims in the past.
Latham & Watkins advocate Joseph Farrell told In These Times that no affiliate of the acknowledged team, nor any adumbrative of the Islamic Saudi Academy, was accommodating to be interviewed about the case.
The angry anti-union attitude appearing from the Islamic Academy is of a allotment with attitudes aback home, including that of King Salman and the blow of the aristocratic family, says Dr. Ali Alyami, Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Animal Rights in Saudi Arabia. Unions of any affectionate were carefully banned in the commonwealth until actual recently, and as of 2014 no unions existed in the country. The Saudi government has been accursed common for tolerating activity abuses of some eight actor adopted workers alien into the country.
The All-embracing Trade Abutment Confederation has collapsed agnate charges, and Animal Rights Watch issued a attentive address in November on some awkward activity reforms accoutrement casual workers there.
“The Saudi aristocratic family is an complete monarchy, accordingly it considers formations of complete unions and added forms of civilian association a blackmail to its complete rule,” Alyami tells In These Times. “Additionally, the Saudi regime’s antecedent of ability and legitimacy, the religious establishment, considers unions and the aphorism of law un-Islamic, and an infidel’s apparatus advised to abort Islam, Muslims and their traditions, which [the Saudi government] claims above to all added behavior and traditions.”
Intolerance of unions, whether central or alfresco of Saudi Arabia, are affiliated to the Saudi “extremist cast of Islam, accepted as Wahhabism,” he says. “It’s no abstruse that American officials, businesses, anticipate tanks, activity unions and media attending the added way back it comes to Saudi misconduct, whether activity abuses, violations of basal animal rights, women’s right, amusing amends and abandon of worship, including abhorrent non-Muslims from practicing their religious rituals about in Saudi Arabia.”
It’s acceptable that Saudi admiral in the U.S. would abhorrence to accord with American activity unions, Alyami speculates, because they ability face official avengement appearing from the aristocratic clique.
There are added complicating factors in the NLRB case. ISAPEA was originally formed to represent Academy agents and added non-teaching professionals. To adverse the acclimation campaign, the Academy claimed it was an Islamic religious academy and accordingly had a appropriate to abjure abutment representation to the agents (the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1979 NLRB v Catholic Bishop of Chicago case disqualified that religious schools do not acquire to admit the aggregate acceding rights of teachers).
The NLRB’s Posner accurate the Academy on this issue, pointing to the absolute Islamic appearance of the school’s programs and policies. But Posner additionally disqualified the appropriate to abjure abutment representation to the agents did not extend to the non-teaching staff, and that they acquire a appropriate to abide their acclimation effort.
But, as Freiberger acclaimed earlier, the Islamic Saudi Academy has fabricated it actual hard, if not impossible, for any abutment acclimation accomplishment to get restarted. The aphorism of King Salman may absolutely acquire succeeded in extending itself to administer the academy workers at the Academy’s Virginia campus.
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