Union Accused Of Intimidating Workers For Not Striking
More workers are joining a federal charge against the United Steelworkers for allegedly intimidating workers for refusing to join a nationwide strike.
Several Texas workers have joined the unfair labor practice charge, which claims that a local chapter of the United Steelworkers intimidated workers who refused to join its oil refinery strike. Since the beginning of February, the USW has garnered national attention for organizing workers at oil refineries across the country.
“We were told that if anyone crossed the line, they would lose their job,” Yvonne Hendrix told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Hendrix, an operator at LyondellBasell Industries, details that she joined the strike at the beginning, but decided to leave later on because of how the union was acting. She noted that the workers who refused to strike got harassed, and that the union wouldn’t explain why specifically it was striking.
“I didn’t know what the strike was about,” Hendrix noted. “There was a lot of dodging and the same answer kept coming up.”
Hendrix said that the only response she got was a vague answer about safety, but when she asked for details, the union wouldn’t get any more specific. More so though, Hendrix became greatly concerned of how workers were being treated for refusing to strike.
“There was a lot of hate, a lot of name calling,” Hendrix said. “To people that wanted to go back to work.”
More than that, Hendrix alleged that the union even threatened workers with fines or losing their jobs for choosing not to strike. Though Hendrix left the strike, more workers are possibly continuing out of fear of retaliation.
‘They’re confused but they’re mostly scared,” Hendrix noted. Through social media and the news, Hendrix heard that the advocacy group National Right to Work Foundation was helping workers in a similar situation. After reaching out to them, she joined the other workers it represents to challenge the USW in the unfair labor practice charge.
Unions officials have argued the issue at hand is safety and that the best solution is hiring more qualified workers.
“We’re committed to reaching a settlement that works for both parties,” USW Vice President Tom Conway declared in a statement. “But adequate staffing levels, worker fatigue and other important safety issues must be addressed.”
TheDCNF could not reach the USW for further comment.
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