OTR Interviews

CEO: How union organizers are targeting my non-union company

Professional Janitorial Service CEO Brent Southwell says his non-union company was inspected 3 times by OSHA accompanied by members of the SEIU.


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 7, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Does this sound like intimidation, even harassment, to you. "On the Record" has been investigating union representatives going along with, and even invited, by federal safety inspectors to inspect non-union businesses.

Now, we tracked down the head of one non-union company. He says union organizers are targeting his Houston business. We are hearing from CEO Brent Southwell just a minute, but first, we reached out to OSHA and SEIU for comments about this ride-along.

In a written statement, OSHA saying in part allowing non-employee third party representative to accompany OSHA inspectors on walk around inspections is not a new OSHA policy. OSHA's long-standing regulations interpreting the law the states that representative can be a third party if that third party representative is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation.

And of course, we also asked SEIU for a statement. They said no. They don't want to answer this one. And now CEO Brent Southwell, of Professional Janitorial Service, joins us. Nice to see you, sir, welcome to Washington.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So, your position that OSHA comes in with SEIU on how many occasions?

SOUTHWELL: Three occasions. They came in with OSHA's inspector in the properties.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. How long you have had your business?

SOUTHWELL: Twenty seven years.

VAN SUSTEREN: And prior to the last this three inspections have you ever been hit with a OSHA complaint?

SOUTHWELL: Never been hit with one, never had any employees complain at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so, now, OSHA has come in on three occasions with SEIU, did they announce they will come or they came in as a surprise.

SOUTHWELL: No, surprise. When my staff got -- my management staff got to the building they were there and introduced them to.

VAN SUSTEREN: I assume that OSHA can come as a surprise. I mean, that's the part of it, to do federal -- I mean, do investigations?

SOUTHWELL: Yeah. We have no problem with OSHA coming in. Our problem is when they bring in the union representatives to try to intimidate us and basically using government agencies to try to force us to become union.

VAN SUSTEREN: Part of the statement that we got from OSHA, says that it suggests that the employees will choose a representative who will come in and inspector in the work place inspection. The workers choose they work -- walk around represent. Did your workers choose somebody?

SOUTHWELL: No. We are not union. And we haven't had election, haven't had a card check and so they have not -- as far as I know, I don't know if these are employees that are just misguided or if they intimidated them or.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did they -- Do you know if anyone even asked SEIU to join them.

SOUTHWELL: They actually came up to -- the OSHA actually told me that the SEIU submitted many forms and they could only find a few where they -- where they were actually signed by employees. They could verify real employees, sign them. So, if I were them, I would have -- you know, not let any credibility to the SEIU folks.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many employees do you have?

SOUTHWELL: Over a thousand.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do -- why makes you think that this is targeted? I mean -- frankly, you know what? I don't like the idea of a federal inspector and having a ride along no matter what the rules are. I mean, let say I think -- whatever. What makes you think you are being targeted and this is unfair?

SOUTHWELL: Well, basically, just from my conversations with the OSHA personnel. I mean, they are very professional in Houston and they told me that the SEIU has a direct line to Washington and they need to do -- do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a vote? is there a SEIU vote coming up in your place.

SOUTHWELL: No, early on, when I met with the SEIU they told me that never let it happen.


SOUTHWELL: Never let it happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, why is SEIU are going into your place if they said they never let it to happen.

SOUTHWELL: Just harassment. They want a card check.

VAN SUSTEREN: And by card check you mean in election to see who votes how?


VAN SUSTEREN: Which is another whole issue?

SOUTHWELL: Yeah. Never going to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no secret ballot.


VAN SUSTEREN: They want to know how everyone is going to vote.

SOUTHWELL: But my big question is why isn't congress -- they need to protect small business people. I'm just curious why they need -- they are not doing anything about it as far as I know.

VAN SUSTEREN: And that's why you are here in Washington to talk to members of congress. Members of Congress, Brent is here to talk to you. Anyway nice to see you, sir.

SOUTHWELL: Thanks for having me, Greta.