Los Angeles: Lawsuit filed after 5 construction organizers brutally attacked

From The LA/Orange County Building Trades News
Five Union Organizers Attacked Print E-mail
Robbie Hunter
Ironworkers Local 433 President Robbie Hunter addresses a "Stop the Violence" rally of over 600 Building Trades and other union members in downtown Los Angeles Mar. 17. Hunter, along with four other organizers, was attacked by non-union contractors while picketing a jobsite.

Click here for photos of rally
Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Against Non-Union Contractors for Assault

A civil rights lawsuit was filed on Monday, Mar. 17, against several contractors and multiple unnamed defendants after five union organizers were brutally assaulted last Friday while engaged in a lawful picket at a construction site in downtown Los Angeles. The lawsuit filed against contractors Hirex, Golden Gate Steel and its owner, and the unnamed defendants seeks unspecified damages for violations of California Civil Code section 51, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

More than 15 workers from the jobsite, some of whom were wielding iron rebar and 2x4's, violently attacked the five organizers. As a result, Robbie Hunter, President of Ironworkers Local 433, was hospitalized after suffering multiple injuries including a fractured cheek bone and busted lip. He was punched in the face, struck in the back of the head with a club, and kicked in the face and leg by the defendants.

"The violent assault against these union organizers is not only reprehensible, it is also a violation of their civil rights," said Ellyn Moscowitz, attorney for the plaintiffs. "These men were attacked because of their position as union organizers; that makes this a hate crime in the state of California. Employers who engage in these crimes can expect that the full weight of the legal system will be brought to bear on them."

In response, over 600 Building Trades and other union members and their allies turned out for a "Stop the Violence" rally at the jobsite where the union organizers were attacked.

"We are here to send a message to all of the non-union contractors in Los Angeles that we will not tolerate violence against union organizers or any other member of the Building Trades who are out here fighting for decent wages for construction workers," said Richard Slawson, Executive-Secretary of the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council. "We are prepared to use every legal means at our disposal to protect the rights of workers. These non-union contractors may use these violent tactics from 100 years ago, but we won't stand for it."

In addition to the injuries sustained by Hunter, IBEW organizer Larry Henderson was struck by a 2 x4, fracturing his arm. Ironworkers Local 433 organizer Rene Angeles was hit in the face with a 2x4 and suffered bruises. Kevin Norton and IBEW organizer Tommy Faavae also suffered bruises.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is deplorable and we hope those responsible are prosecuted and jailed. I myself believe in the old days of an eye for an eye but that leads to further chaos and non constructive agitation regardless of how good it would make you feel. While these actions are reprehensible so are these:BUFFALO, N.Y. - Construction union thugs used the state Department of Motor Vehicles database to target nonmember workers and their families for violence, property damage and threats of sexual assault, federal officials said Tuesday as they announced the arrests of 12 union leaders and members.
See the story here.http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic

Violence and anti Union behavior must be removed from both sides of the equation if Union Labor is to move productively into the future. It is hard enough for the Union Labor rank and file to fight off challenges from the anti Union companies. It does not help that some Unions have become their own worst enemies. If Unions engage in these actions then they send a signal to the non union sector that this is how Union business is done.

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