In May, 2010, the United Steel Workers went on strike in Columbus, MS over, in their words, "integrity." When they went out on strike, the union employees vowed to stay out "for as long as it takes."
Now, over a year later, their employer, Omnova Solutions, has hired replacement workers who, as is their right under the law, recently filed to decertify the union.
When a decertification petition is filed, it is very common for a union to fight the workers' effort to kick the union out. Such is the case in Columbus, MS.
In the meantime, as is customary (and legally required) when the National Labor Relations Board schedules an election, the employer is required to turn over a list of the names of the eligible voters and their home addresses.
The list, known as an Excelsior List , is provided to the NLRB, which then provides a copy to the union.
In this case, however, with reports of vandalism and more than 100 flattened tires, the employer is raising concerns about turning those names and addresses over to the union.
Omnova Solutions wants to keep the names and addresses of its 140 replacement workers private due to concerns for their safety. Meanwhile, the company's affiliated union, the United Steelworkers Local 748-L, is challenging the validity of a petition to decertify the union, which has been on strike since May 21, 2010.
Dave Radelet, attorney for Omnova, expressed concern the release of such information could be detrimental to the replacement workers, whom he said have dealt with harassment, assault and flat tires "over an 11-month period."
"There is a vast amount of evidence of replacement workers being subjected to property damage, assault, intrusions into their homes and personal property, damage to their tires, projectiles around their property," Radelet said, noting there is tangible evidence of the incidents.
"This past weekend, bullets were shot into the residence of a replacement worker ... and residue poured onto his truck, damaging the truck," he continued.
"This is a long strike, and when replacement workers are used, emotion tend to be elevated," said Agee, adding that the union "has no evidence of the acts."
"We have to have an opportunity to express what the union's view is," he continued. "The excelsior list is the standard way."
After the meeting, local union president Jay Lawrence said some workers may want union representation "if they know the facts up front."
Obviously, the union wants the names and addresses of the replacement workers so it can *convince* them of the benefits of
union representation something.
The question that remains is, will the union-controlled NLRB side with the union? Or, will it side on the safety of the replacement workers?
Never mind. How silly. We already know that answer.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776