AKRON — A United Steelworkers local and former local members have settled an unfair labor practices case alleging harassment following the workers´ resignation from the union.
The complaint, filed May 31, alleged that after three Goodyear employees — Frank C. Steen III, David Dann and Tony Sando — and contract worker Scott Lauby resigned from USW Local 2 in Akron during the 86-day strike against the company and crossed the picket line, they were harassed and fined.
Local union members made at least one threatening phone call, sent "hate mail" and "verbally threatened and coerced" one of the workers at his home on several occasions using a bullhorn, the complaint alleged. The local also brought internal charges against the employees after the strike ended in December. In February the local held a hearing before a union trial committee and found the employees guilty of the charges and levied fines of $620 against each.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a legal aid organization that fights compulsory union activity and is helping Steen in the case, claimed the employees were fined for "refusing to walk off the job during a union-ordered strike" and for "allegedly informing others of their legal right to refrain from formal union membership."
The settlement was approved by the National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 14. An NLRB hearing on the case had been scheduled for Aug. 21.
The agreement requires USW Local 2 officials to stop threatening bargaining unit employees with internal fines, making threats against them at their homes, bringing employees up on disciplinary charges, and holding internal trials or fining workers because they resign their membership or choose to work during a strike. Any grievances and fines against the workers must also be withdrawn.
A notice detailing the agreement must be posted at the tire plant in Akron for 60 days.
"It was an ugly campaign of intimidation," an NTRW Foundation spokesman said. "These workers wanted their rights to be protected and we´re happy with the result."
Execution of the settlement doesn´t constitute an admission that the local violated the National Labor Relations Act, the agreement said.
A USW spokesman said the union thought it had a good case and had some precedent on its side, but it was not worth the time and commitment to drag the fight out. "It was time to move on," he said.