Minneapolis is the latest hot spot. Last week both Overnite and the Teamsters were found liable for damages resulting from violence and threats occuring as a result of the unfair labor practices strike.
Overnite had asked for more than $36,000 in damages to pay for extra security costs. The judge found that the additional costs were a direct result of both Overnite's and the Teamsters' picket line misconduct, with the court finding that the Teamsters violations were greater in number than Overnite's. Therefore, the judge ordered that Overnite was responsible for one-third, or just over $12,000, while the Teamsters were responsible for two-thirds, or just over $24,000, of the additional security costs incurred by Overnite between December 20, 1999 and January 24, 2000.
The judge found that the Teamsters repeatedly violated the court's restraining orders. In two separate instances, picketers jumped onto Overnite vehicles entering the Blaine Service Center; one of them tried to grab the Overnite driver and pull him out of the truck. The court also cited numerous threats against Overnite employees, and dozens of incidents of property damage to Overnite vehicles and to Overnite employees' personal vehicles.
The court also found that Overnite drivers crossing the picket line made threats of violence on a regular basis against the striking workers. In adition, the court found that Overnite truck drivers endanger the safety of the strikers with the way they drive around the picket lines.
In a separate incident, a St. Louis Teamster supporter pleaded guilty to pulling an Overnite driver from his vehicle and assaulting him. Stanley O. Wright admitted to the October confrontation. He received a suspended sentence, was placed on a year's probation, and was required to undergo anger management counseling and ordered to pay Overnite's court costs.
The strikers have also received a commitment from the Teamsters, who pledged their long-term support. As part of the agreement, the Teamsters will provide financial support for picketing, legal fees and other strike-related expenses.
The Teamsters have been striking Overnite, the Richmond, Va.-based LTL carrier, since October 1999. However, because not all companies are represented by the union, the action's main effect has been to force Overnite to spend money for extra security and for moving workers around to fill in the gaps. The company boasts that its on-time rating is better than ever.
The union and company negotiating officials met again last week, but no progress was made, according to the Teamsters. Contract negotiations will resume July 25 and 26.