Friday, May 1, 2009

Tacoma, WA: Workers Sabotage Point Ruston LLC

Point Ruston LLC has filed a lawsuit in a federal court against Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Jobs With Justice Education Fund and individual representatives of both organizations.

It makes allegations that include violations of federal labor laws prohibiting threatening activities, interfering with contractual relations, trespassing, property damage, and making false and defamatory statements regarding working conditions. Point Ruston seeks damages in excess of $20 million.

He claims misinformation is being spread about environmental issues.

Last year the developer signed a labor harmony agreement with 15 unions. The carpenters were not one of them. Eric Franklin, communications director for the union, said no one affiliated with it has damaged property. “We have nothing to do with any illegal activity.”

The union has a long-running dispute with Rain City, a concrete forming company that worked on the project. It claims the contractor pays substandard wages and does poor quality work.

Franklin said the state Department of Labor and Industries has fined Rain City $35,000 for safety violations at Point Ruston.

“We are confident with our facts,” he said.

Loren Cohen, legal affairs manager for Point Ruston, said the company is friendly toward labor and has good relations with many trade unions. (HA!)

He said property damage on the site includes slashed tires and glued locks.

The activism “has crossed the line into the context of defamation.” Both groups know workers on the site are not at risk, according to Loren Cohen, “They are perpetuating lies.

“We are outraged by the tactics they have resorted to pursue their agenda. We feel we have been seriously harmed by the fear mongering that has been spread by both of these groups.”

Adam Hoyt, Pierce County organizing chair with Jobs With Justice, is named in the lawsuit. He said the group has handed out leaflets spelling out its concerns with Point Ruston. Hoyt thinks Mike Cohen simply does not like how they are expressing their views.

“This is an outright assault on our free speech rights. We have done nothing more than raise awareness.”


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Boycott all unions! They give American workers a bad name!