Virginia’s Attorney General Asked to Investigate Apparent Refusal of Police to Investigate Union Harassment
Workers reported windows smashed, nails in driveways, and threatening letters, while local police turn a blind eye
Dublin, Virginia (March 13, 2008) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation today called on the Virginia Attorney General to investigate “ethical and professional breaches” by local police who actually chastised non-striking workers for exercising their constitutionally protected Right to Work rather than investigate the ongoing union harassment and property destruction they face.
A group of Pulaski County Volvo workers contacted the Foundation for help late last week after suffering a variety of retaliation tactics simply for showing up for work to support their families during a United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.
Employees have been targeted with smashed windows, derogatory signs, cut tires, nails in their driveways, sugar in their gas tanks, and more. Driving into work, as documented by local media reports, employees also had to pass a coffin labeled “all scabs welcome here,” as well as endure picketers spitting on their cars, making obscene and sexual gestures at them, and racist and sexist slurs.
Despite this, at least one employee claims that a police officer, who apparently had family or friends in the UAW union, refused to file a police report and instead publicly lectured her for “crossing the picket line” when she reported an alleged crime perpetrated by union operatives.
Foundation Staff Attorney Derek Poteet wrote to Attorney General Robert McDonnell: “...law enforcement officers have claimed to have no evidence that union members are involved. However, I have learned that law enforcement officers have, in some instances, actually caught the perpetrators only to release them with a warning, without further investigation or fingerprinting… [This is] a ‘catch and release’ attitude toward union violence.”
He continued: “If no action is taken, those who committed these crimes will have succeeded in making an example to thwart others from exercising their constitutionally protected Right to Work in the future, perceiving that the law will not protect them.”
The National Right to Work Foundation has come to the aid of many victims of union intimidation and violence, including victims of UAW harassment in Winchester, Virginia. The Foundation helped Vietnamese immigrant Schucheng Huang after union militants vandalized her car with paint, smashed her car windows, and placed a severed, bloody cow's head on the hood of her car. Huang and other victims of union violence won an undisclosed monetary settlement in 2001.