Abbott's Anti-Closed Shop Stance

For once, state employment law trumps federal rules on closed shop agreements

When is a federal facility not a federal facility? When they use private contract security, seemingly.

Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on Friday he gained permanent injunctions against security firms Deco-Akal JV and Asset Protection and Security Services, and the International Union of Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America. They'd been operating under a closed shop agreement to provide security staff at two Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service centers - Deko-Akal at the El Paso processing center and Asset Protection at the Los Fresnos Detention Facility in Bayview.

They'd been doing this under what's legally known as the federal enclave exception. Layperson's terms: that's when a federal facility is excluded from a whole swath of state and local laws. Now generally this has been applied to shield the feds from local oversight, like the way that the famous Groom Lake (aka Area 51 to the conspiracy-minded out there) testing facility in Nevada is functionally invisible to state law. This can also extend to businesses that operate on those sites: for example, if a firm leases a federal facility, they may not have to pay local property taxes.

Abbott had contended that, even though both sites were run by ICE, they weren't really federal enclaves, making the closed shop agreements illegal under the Texas "Right to Work" law. It seems that the 117th Judicial District Court in Nueces County and the 171st in El Paso agreed with him.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Attorney General
It's Official: Paxton Indicted
It's Official: Paxton Indicted
Texas AG's mugshot taken

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 3, 2015

Paxton Indicted on Three Felony Counts
Paxton Indicted
Prosecutors confirm grand jury handed down three felony charges

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 1, 2015

More Courts
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Within two days, courts reject second election map, voter ID bill

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 25, 2017

Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Lecturers Sue to Block Campus Carry
Do Texas concealed handgun rules break the Second Amendment?

Richard Whittaker, July 7, 2016

More by Richard Whittaker
Refineries and Suitcase Pimps: Riding the <i>Red Rocket</i> With Sean Baker
Refineries and Suitcase Pimps: Riding the Red Rocket With Sean Baker
The filmmaker talks about poverty porn and real porn

Dec. 5, 2021

Wolf
An astounding performance at the heart of this strange tale of identity

Dec. 3, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Attorney General, Courts, Employment, Immigration, Right to Work, Greg Abbott, SPFPA, Deko-Akal, Los Fresnos Detention Facility, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle