After leading a strike for roughly a week, the Northwest Carpenters Union has announced a stoppage of their organized strikes after alleged illegal picketing activity by unauthorized strikers.
“We are sorry to report that roaming protests headed by a small, unsanctioned group of protestors, that includes union and non-union members, have led to the temporary closure of all Northwest Carpenters Union picket activities starting tomorrow, Friday, September 24,” said NWCU Executive Secretary-Treasurer Evelyn Shapiro in a written statement.
Activities reported to NWCU include: near physical altercations, threats of violence, illegal picketing activity, harassment of union members walking on sanctioned picket lines.
According to Shapiro, the union has also received threats of legal actions from multiple employers regarding wildcat strikes and NWCU liability for illegal picket actions.
“Our priority is protecting the physical safety of our picketing members, who are reporting real and increasing threats of personal violence and property destruction from those participating in unsanctioned protests,” wrote Shapiro. “Hundreds of our members have participated in highly successful, sanctioned, legal pickets this week and last week, at increasing picket sites every day, marching as one. We are disappointed that the actions of few are getting in the way of our members’ right to strike.“
The union claims it has since been contacted by legal counsel from several employers who say they plan to take action against the NWCU. Shapiro expressed concern that these actions could drain the union’s resources.
The union voted to go on a labor strike after rejecting a wages and benefits agreement offered by the Associated General Contractors of Washington.
“We are still on strike and members who are required to withhold their labor will continue withholding labor until we have an agreement to consider. We will give an update on next week’s picketing activities on Monday, September 27th,” Shapiro wrote. “In addition, we will hold a solidarity rally early next week with other labor unions who stand in solidarity with union carpenters.”