Union officials threatening workers who refused to abandon their jobs
Houston, TX (February 24, 2015) – 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.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, Joseph Smith of Friendswood, Texas filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
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.
Smith's unfair labor practice charge alleges that USW Local 13-1 union officials are resorting to harassing, coercing, and threatening workers for refusing to abandon their jobs. Further, USW Local 13-1 union officials have allowed the union's website and Facebook page to be used to communicate threats against workers who continue to work during the strike.
"USW union bosses are trying to punish workers who have the courage 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.