Davis Wire employees in Washington go on strike
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According to a press release Monday from Teamsters Local Union 117, Tukwila, Washington, workers at the Davis Wire mill in Kent, Washington went on strike Monday "in response to mass layoffs and others unlawful actions by the company." Davis Wire is one of four manufacturers in the Heico Wire Group.
The press release indicated that Davis Wire laid off 27 workers at the mill, representing nearly a third of its unionized workforce, three days after strike vote. Workers overwhelmingly voted to strike on May 12 and individuals were laid off on May 15. "I have no doubt that these layoffs are retaliatory in nature. For Davis Wire to purposely destroy workers' livelihoods and eliminate local manufacturing jobs in an economy that is struggling to recover is unconscionable," said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. According to Thompson, Davis Wire threatened to move work out of state and close down the Kent facility unless the union agreed to the company's terms in bargaining.
Local 117 has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the layoffs represent a violation of federal labor law. In the last month, the company has been accused of eleven additional violations of the law, including bad faith bargaining, worker surveillance, worker intimidation, and illegal threats to shut down the facility in Kent. 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.