DES MOINES, Iowa (Dec. 2)—A former tire inspector at Bridgestone/Firestone´s Des Moines plant has won a $1.3 million judgment against United Steelworkers Local 310 for alleged racial harassment.
Robert Eliserio, who worked at the facility from 1988 to 2002, said he was subjected to names like "Taco Bob" and "Burrito Bob" in the workplace, then was called "Rateserio" for telling company management about the harassment.
Thomas Newkirk, one of Eliserio´s attorneys, said a receipt proved Local 310 bought 200 "No Rat" stickers for plant employees as part of its harassment campaign against Eliserio. "The union had a very strict no-ratting policy—don't tell the company about anything, including civil rights issues—so we have no idea if anyone else at the plant suffered the same treatment," Newkirk said.
Mark Bay, an attorney for Local 310, said the union will make post-trial motions to the trial judge, and will appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals if those motions don't work. BFS and the USW International union were parties to the lawsuit at one time, but the company resolved its case with Eliserio and the international union was dropped as a defendant, the attorneys said.