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Support Davis Wire strikers in Kent, now in 2nd month

KENT (June 21) — One month ago today, 85 members of Teamsters Local 117 at Davis Wire went on strike to protest what they say was the retaliatory firing of co-workers, dangerous working conditions, and a series of unlawful actions by the company. Now, all union and community members are being asked to show their support for these brave individuals and their families by doing three things:

1)  Watch this video with Davis Wire employees describing why they are on strike, the working conditions they face, and how they have been treated by their employer.

2)  Call Davis Wire CEO Jim Hillebrandt at (626) 969-7651 and tell him to stop running his business like a sweatshop and address the serious safety issues at his facility in Kent, Washington. Tell him that you support his employees’ fight for a fair contract and that his company needs to return to the table NOW and start treating his employees with dignity and respect!

3)  Please make a contribution — and ask your union organization to make a contribution — to the Davis Wire Hardship Fund. Local 117 set up this fund to help the strikers’ families, which are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet as they make the brave stand up for fair treatment. Click here to contribute via PayPal, or mail checks made out to the “Davis Wire Hardship Fund” to Teamsters Local 117 at 14675 Interurban Ave. South, Suite 307, Tukwila, WA, 98168. Thank you!

BACKGROUND — The 85 workers at Davis Wire’s Kent facility have been without a contract since Dec. 1, 2011. On May 15, the company laid off 27 employees in Kent — nearly a third of its unionized workforce — just three days after workers voted to authorize a strike. Their union, Teamsters Local 117, contends that the layoffs were retaliatory in nature.

On May 21, the workers went on strike to protest what Local 117 says was a series of unlawful actions by the company. The union 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.

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 and working employees without paying them 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-hour shifts without a break and eat lunch at their work stations while operating dangerous machinery.

Davis Wire is one of four manufacturers in the Heico Wire Group. Over the last few years, four workers have been killed in industrial accidents at Heico facilities across the country. At the Kent facility, workers have suffered serious injuries, including wire punctures, broken bones, and mangled fingers. Last week a machine operator was injured and hospitalized after his hand got caught between two spinning rollers of a fabric machine.

Davis Wire also operates plants in Irwindale, CA and Pueblo, CO. Some of the company’s major customers include Home Depot, Lowe’s, and several major construction companies.

Both the lawsuit and the Unfair Labor Practice charges can be viewed on Local 117’s website at

Also at the Teamsters Local 117 website, get more details about how you can support striking workers, including information about where you can join these workers on the picket line.

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!