Pittsburgh, Penn. (December 1, 2003) – Obtaining free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, two Renaissance Hotel workers today asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for permission to intervene in a high-profile suit, to challenge a joint effort by union and city officials to corral all hotel staff into union membership against their wishes.
After workers throughout the hotel suffered a harassment campaign at the hands of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) Union Local 57 officials, hotel employees Faith Jetter and David Harlich filed the petition to intervene in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The workers’ seek to block implementation of a so-called “neutrality agreement” which required their employer, Sage Hospitality Resources (Sage), to actively assist union organizers.
Meanwhile, many other workers have been reluctant to step forward publicly. Foundation attorneys have received numerous reports of incidents involving HERE union officials including physical intimidation, harassment in the workplace, and intimidating home visits -- all aimed at coercing employees to sign union authorization cards which would be counted as a vote for unionization.
“Faith Jetter and David Harlich show real courage by coming forward to stand up for worker freedom,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The reluctance of their coworkers to speak out shows just how far union operatives have gone to strike fear into the hearts of dissenting workers.”
Jetter and Harlich seek intervenor status to block implementation of the “neutrality agreement,” under which union organizers have broad access to their workplace to pressure employees into union membership. Union officials have also gained access to personal employee information such as names and home addresses.
Harlich and Jetter allege that the City of Pittsburgh unlawfully required Sage to give up certain rights that are protected by federal law, and that the neutrality agreement interferes with the rights of individual workers to decide their own representation.