Documents filed in Central District court by attorneys at Paul Hastings LLP, on behalf of American Apparel, seek to have a judge enforce a subpoena that would compel Charney to produce any communications related to the General Brotherhood of Workers of American Apparel between himself and certain individuals, or any financial support of the group. The order would also force Charney to testify in hearings on the group’s certification.
The General Brotherhood filed an election petition with the National Labor Relations Board in November and said it submitted some 2,300 election cards from workers in support of holding an election to vote on unionizing.
American Apparel sought to block the petition, arguing the group is not a “legitimate labor organization” and is instead composed of Charney’s friends and roommates along with former American Apparel executives. Instead, American Apparel said in court this week the group “exists for the personal benefit of Mr. Charney” and thereby creates a conflict of interest.
“Mr. Charney has used every tactic imaginable to claw his way back to the head of the company — including organizing workers to demand his return as ceo,” American Apparel’s court filing said.
Nativo Lopez, a board trustee for the General Brotherhood reached by phone Friday, disputed the allegations and said Charney had nothing to do with the group’s formation.
“It’s absolutely false,” Lopez said. “It actually took him by surprise when a mass rally was convened in March of last year of American Apparel workers, at which time we began distributing the authorization cards [for an election] and that’s the first he even learned of an effort to establish a union.”
Charney and a spokeswoman for American Apparel declined comment. Charney’s attorney Keith Fink did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fink claimed in a court filing this month that the National Labor Relations Board’s information request is overly broad. Charney is a “mere third party to the case,” the response said, and “there is simply no justifiable way for Charney to bear this burden” of testifying. Fink also raised concerns about the NLRB’s “unwillingness to ensure Charney’s personal and private information will remain confidential.”
American Apparel filed for bankruptcy in October following a rough patch that saw a very public battle play out by Charney and his supporters to get him back into the company he founded. All of that unfolded as the executive team aimed to stabilize the business. The company emerged from bankruptcy in February.