Press Contact: Jamie Fleming Phone: 206-441-6060 Email: JFleming@teamsters174.org
Commissioner rules that striking Teamster members can carry on with nearly all picketing activities
After a long-expected “Hail Mary” attempt by the companies to forcibly end Union picketing, Teamsters Local 174 members are still holding strong on picket lines today as King County Superior Court Commissioner Mark Hillman’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) takes effect. The TRO came about after management at the employers filed a frivolous and inaccurate pleading accusing the Teamsters of a litany of misdeeds on the picket lines. The accusations ranged from ridiculous and laughable to serious and offensive, and were backed up by little evidence. The Commissioner in the hearing ruled on Friday that the Teamsters could continue to picket with few restrictions, and that order went into effect today.
The restrictions placed on the picketing Teamsters are minor and will have little meaningful impact on our activities on the lines. The TRO prevents striking Union members from delaying vehicles on their way in to struck facilities, which was already rare as we strive to avoid backing up traffic on public roads. Additionally, the TRO prevents picketers from delaying personal vehicles coming out of the facilities – also a rare sight, as the picketing is intended to target commercial vehicles. Far more consequential to our side were the permissions explicitly granted in the Commissioner’s order: No limits on how many people can picket, no limits on hours, no limits on use of bullhorns and megaphones, no restrictions on where we can stand, and a clear codification of our right to delay trucks exiting struck facilities for two minutes each.
The Order also places additional responsibility on the Companies to ensure safe conditions on the picket lines by tasking them with informing their customers of the picketers’ rights to patrol for the timed 2-minute period. This had been a consistent problem at certain locations, where non-union truckers frequently refused to wait until the patrolling ended and instead charged the picketers with their trucks and sometimes even hit them, knocking people over and causing injury. In one particularly egregious instance caught on video, a non-union driver got out of his truck and stole a Teamster’s picket sign, breaking the sign off the stick and hitting a picketer with the weapon while screaming race-based threats and insults. Incidents such as this will now be the Employers’ responsibility to prevent.
“After three months on strike and constant surveillance from the employers, we are extremely pleased that Commissioner Hillman saw through this ruse and is protecting our right to picket,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “If these employers want us to stop picketing their facilities, they need to come back to the table and make a deal that puts our members back to work. Stunts like this attempt to sue us into submission are not helpful and will not bring about a swifter end to this labor dispute. The only thing that will put an end to this strike is good-faith negotiations leading to a fair contract for our members and their families.”
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 8,600 working men and women in Seattle and the surrounding areas. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.