The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union said that Frontier’s request for an injunction on its workers striking in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, is not necessary and the strikers are abiding by the law.
"We believe the request for the injunction is an overreaction by the company to the lawful activity of our striking members,” said Ed Mooney, VP of CWA District 2-13, in a statement. “The court has given the parties until Monday evening to come to an agreement on the parameters of that activity during this strike, and we will work to ensure that our members’ rights are protected.”
Mooney added that Frontier’s "action comes in the face of the tremendous support that residents and business owners across West Virginia have shown for the strike, and shows that the company is worried because that support has spread to Connecticut, where Frontier workers have set up informational pickets at work locations and at Frontier's headquarters.”
On Thursday, Frontier Communications filed a request for an injunction Kanawha County Circuit Court to stop the striking workers in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, from engaging in what the company calls “rampant unlawful activity,” as well as abuse of other Frontier employees, including replacement workers.
In its complaint, Frontier named the CWA and its local affiliates as defendants. Frontier and its operating subsidiaries, Frontier West Virginia and Citizens Telecommunications Company of West Virginia, have sought the court’s “immediate assistance to protect life, limb and property,” read the complaint cited in a Charleston Gazette-Mail report.
“Rather than contain themselves to peaceful picketing and protest, as the law requires, the defendants have embarked down a dangerous and lawless road throughout Kanawha County and elsewhere in West Virginia,” Frontier officials said in the complaint.
After not being able to reach an agreement when the contract expired earlier this month, about 1,400 Frontier Communications employees in the areas have been on strike.
According to the complaint, Frontier representatives said the “unlawful mass picketing and other strike-related misconduct” resulted in more than 100 incidents of abuse reported to the service provider.
Employees of Mercury Z, a contractor that was hired by Frontier to conduct installation and repair work during the strike, are the alleged victims of the strikers’ abuse. Additionally, non-union Frontier employees alleged incidents of abuse, according to the company’s lawsuit.
Securitas USA and Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, who were hired to provide security services for Frontier during the strike, said they also were abused by striking employees.
Striking employees, according to Frontier, have blocked access to enter or leave Frontier locations and property, threatened and committed violence against other Frontier employees and contractors, committed dangerous driving tactics on the road to cause collisions or force Frontier contractors off the road, and committed “rampant” vandalism and property destruction.
But it appears that it’s not just the strikers that are reportedly being abusive.
Ato Oronde Clark, a Georgia resident who was going to serve as a temporary worker for Frontier during the strike, allegedly pulled a gun on a picketing employee in Braxton County. Clark was arrested and charged with one count of brandishing a weapon.
Andy Malinoski, a Frontier spokesman, told the Gazette-Mail that when this incident happened Clark “was not doing work for [Frontier] yet,” adding that Clark’s contractor terminated its relationship with him.