Federal charges have been filed against a local chapter of the United Steelworkers for allegedly intimidating workers who refused to join a recent nationwide strike.
“As the highly-publicized United Steelworker (USW) union-instigated strike against oil refineries continues, a Shell Oil Company refinery worker has filed a federal charge against a local Steelworker union for intimidating workers for refusing to abandon their jobs,” the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation declared in a press release.
NRTW is helping to represent Joseph Smith, an industry worker from Texas who filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, against his union. Smith argues that USW intimidated workers who refused to join its strike. Since the beginning of February, the USW has garnered national attention for organizing workers at oil refineries across the country to strike over safety concerns.
“Workers at BP’s Whiting, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio refineries are joining the union’s unfair labor practice strike against the oil industry that began on Feb. 1, after the companies failed to address serious concerns regarding the health and safety of workers and their communities,” a statement by the union detailed.
“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.”
The strike even resulted in organized work stoppages and other tactics meant to pressure the oil refineries. Smith, however, alleges that during its fight against the oil giants, USW turned on some of its own members.
“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,” NRTW detailed.
“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,” the press release also claimed.
The Daily Caller News Foundation could not reach the USW for further comment.
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