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Davis Wire workers in Calif. honor local strikers’ picket line

Workers at a Davis Wire mill in Irwindale, CA, honored picket lines that were established on Wednesday night by striking Teamsters at the company’s plant in Kent, WA.

“Our members are exercising their contractual right to honor a lawful picket line. Their decision not to cross the line shows that they stand in solidarity with their Teamster brothers in Washington state,” said Christopher Griswold, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 986, which represents approximately 115 workers at the company’s Irwindale facility.

The 85 workers at the Kent facility have been without a contract since Dec. 1, 2011.  They went on strike on May 21 to protest a series of unlawful actions by the company, according to Teamsters Local 117, the union that represents Davis Wire workers in Washington.

“Davis Wire is not treating its workers in Washington state with dignity and respect. We have come to Irwindale to demand that this company stops breaking the law and improves working conditions inside the mill,” said Larry Dunson, a 28-year employee.

Teamsters Local 117 has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB accusing the company of a dozen violations of federal labor law, including bad faith bargaining, worker surveillance, worker intimidation, and illegal threats to shut down the facility.

On May 15, the company laid off 27 employees at the Kent facility — nearly a third of its unionized workforce — just three days after workers voted to authorize a strike.  The Union contends that the layoffs were retaliatory in nature.

In addition to the Unfair Labor Practice charges, workers have joined a class-action lawsuit accusing their employer of denying them the right to take rest and meal breaks over a three-year period.

The complaint, which was filed in King County Superior Court on April 30, describes sweatshop-like conditions, in which employees were pressured to work 12-hours shifts without a break and eat lunch at their work stations while operating dangerous machinery.

At the Teamsters Local 117 website, get details about how you can support striking workers.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!