May 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Boston, MA – The National Labor Relations Board in Boston on May 23 requested a federal court to issue a restraining order against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, alleging that Verizon strikers have harassed strikebreakers while picketing outside their motels.
The NLRB filing accuses picketers of vandalizing scabs’ cars, blowing airhorns at 6 a.m., and shouting obscenities at them and motel employees, and said this “illegal campaign may force Verizon to capitulate.” Affidavits from Verizon managers and strikebreakers claimed that the about 120 scabs had been forced to switch hotels to escape the picketers. Paul Feeney, legislative director for IBEW Local 2222, told the Boston Globe that the union did not condone violence or vandalism, but it was trying to “communicate to Verizon that it’s not going to be easy to have replacement workers do our jobs.” The striking unions have argued that picketing the hotels is not an illegal secondary boycott of a neutral party, because the strikebreakers are picking up tools and work orders at them. In one incident at an Extended Stay America motel in Westborough, Mass., on May 12, Verizon charged that a picketer had opened the driver’s side door of a strikebreaker’s car while he was trying to drive out of the parking lot, leading the driver to accelerate and hit another picketer. Local police reports contradict that account: The driver was arrested on felony charges of drunk driving and assault with a motor vehicle. Read more