In the wake of a recent federal charge filed against a local steelworker union for intimidating Shell oil workers for refusing to abandon their jobs during the ongoing, highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike, three additional Houston-based oil refinery workers have filed a federal charge against the union.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, LyondellBasell Industries employees Yvonne Hendrix, Richard Jackson, and Kyle MacDonnell filed the unfair labor practice charge Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The charge alleges that USW Local 13-227 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Over the course of several meetings, a USW Local 13-227 union official has threatened workers who continue to work during the strike with job termination and other retaliation. Further, USW Local 13-227 union officials have allowed a union Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike, and against employees who are contemplating returning to work.
Last week, Foundation attorneys also assisted Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas in filing a federal charge against the USW Local 13-1 union on similar grounds. At Smith's plant in Deer Park, roughly 150 of the approximately 800-large workforce have continued to work during the strike, with many resigning their membership in the USW Local 13-1 union, as is their right under federal labor law and Texas' popular Right to Work law. As the stream of workers resigning union membership and returning to work grows every day, it was reported that USW Local 13-1 union officials turned off their fax machine in an attempt to stop workers from exercising their right to resign and return to work.
"As USW union bosses lose support from rank-and-file workers, they have resorted to threats and intimidation against workers who have decided not to toe the union boss line and instead provide for their families," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "It is indefensible that workers who resign their union membership and continue to work to support their families in defiance of the USW boss-ordered strike are now being harassed and threatened for exercising their rights."
In response to the high-profile strike, the National Right to Work Foundation recently issued a special legal notice to workers affected which lays out their rights under federal labor law:http://www.nrtw.org/en/special-legal-notice-usw-refinery-strike-02032015.