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May 10 — A federal district court has ordered the Communications Workers of America to temporarily halt picketing at New York hotels where out-of-state Verizon workers are staying during the union's strike against the telecommunications giant.
Acting on a May 9 petition by National Labor Relations Board Regional Director James G. Paulsen, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York found there is reasonable cause to believe the union has violated the secondary boycott provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.
Donnelly issued a temporary restraining order and set a May 12 hearing on Paulsen's request for a preliminary injunction.
The regional director alleges that the hotels are neutrals in the ongoing labor dispute but that the CWA has used unlawful threats and picketing in an effort to cause them to cease doing business with Verizon.
Paulsen is seeking an injunction under Section 10(l) of the act to prevent unlawful conduct pending final action on an administrative complaint against the union.
According to the NLRB records, Verizon brought out-of-town managers and other workers to New York, where approximately 14,000 employees are on strike.
Verizon arranged lodging for the workers—who are handling struck work, including field installations and repairs—at four hotels in New York City, one in Garden City, N.Y., and one at JFK International Airport.
According to an NLRB memorandum to the federal court, the workers don't keep Verizon vehicles at the hotels and they “perform no work in the hotels.”
The regional director alleges that picketing, sometimes accompanied by noise, air horns, whistles and yelling, began on April 15 at the Courtyard New York/Times Square hotel. Similar conduct allegedly followed at other hotels.
According to Paulsen, hotel staffers were told in several instances that picketing and demonstrations would continue as long as the Verizon employees stayed in the hotels.
Verizon workers were also allegedly called scabs and were told by picketers or demonstrators to leave the hotels.
Verizon New York Inc. and several related companies filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that CWA's conduct has violated Section 8(b)(4)(i)(B) and 8(b)(4)(ii)(B) of the NLRA.
The companies allege the union has unlawfully coerced the hotels, and induced or encouraged hotel employees to engage in a strike or cease working, with an object of pressuring neutrals to cease doing business with Verizon.
The NLRB's general counsel has issued a complaint against the CWA, and a hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge is scheduled for June 9.
In addition to granting the regional director's request for a temporary restraining order on May 9, the court ordered the union to answer the injunction petition by May 11.
The court has scheduled a May 12 hearing on the regional director's request for a preliminary injunction.
NLRB attorneys Kimberly A. Walters and Nancy Lipin in Brooklyn filed the injunction petition.
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Text of the temporary restraining order is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Paulsen_v_Communications_Workers_of_America_Docket_No_116cv02312_.
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