Kent wire mill accused of laying off workers after strike vote

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Updated Monday, May 21 at 9:07 AM

Twenty-seven workers of a Kent, Wash. wire manufacturer were laid off after workers authorized a strike, the Teamsters Union said Monday.

Workers at Davis Wire mill went on strike Monday morning, claiming unfair labor practices by the company including laying off about one-third of its workers after the strike authorization.

The strike was authorized May 12 and the layoffs happend May 15, the union said.

"I have no doubt that these layoffs are retaliatory in nature,” said Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey Thompson.

Davis Wire lead counsel Harry Stang said the layoffs were not a response to the strike. He said the union had been aware for months that layoffs might be necessary and that a warn notice was issued weeks before the strike.

The Teamsters also accuse Davis Wire of threatening to move work out of state and close down the facility unless the union agreed to the company’s demands.

The union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the layoffs violate federal labor laws. Workers also allegedly joined a class-action lawsuit claiming the company denied them rest and meal breaks in what was described as “sweatshop like conditions.”

The 85 workers in Kent have worked without a contract since Dec. 1, the Teamsters said.

Stang also said the company believes the workers have been misled.

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