Langeloth Metallurgical workers work stoppage

Rick Shrum/Observer-Reporter

Members of United Auto Workers Local 1311 picket Tuesday morning outside Langeloth Metallurgical.

Attorneys for a manufacturer of molybdenum-related products in Smith Township and striking members of United Autoworkers Local 1311 were in Washington County Court on Friday over what the company termed mass picketing and intimidation.

Langeloth Metallurgical Co., beset by a strike since 12:01 a.m. Monday, sought a preliminary injunction against the members of the UAW, who have, the company claims, blocked access to the plant, created a dangerous situation on a public road and intimidated those attempting to enter either through words or by recording of license plate numbers.

After a two-hour session outside of her courtroom, the sides agreed to enter into a “stipulated injunction,” which they and President Judge Katherine B. Emery signed.

The union is not to interfere by mass picketing with vehicular traffic, including delivery, unloading, loading, dispatch or movement of products at the site.

It also set restrictions on the distance pickets must keep from the plant’s property and the number of pickets on Vance Drive.

Both company and union are enjoined from acts or threats of violence, intimidation, libel or slander against opponents or their employees and agents.

The company and union began collective bargaining in February in advance of the UAW contract expiring March 12.

The sides reached an impasse in July. The union rejected the company’s last best offer on Aug. 8 and had to wait 30 days before initiating a work stoppage, which centers on seniority rights that allow union members with the longest service to have priority when seeking certain jobs.

The company employs about 130 people from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, including 40 salaried workers.

In an injunction request the company attorney filed with the court late Thursday, it named as defendants Jimmy Whisler, an executive board member and UAW Region 9 International representative, based in Philadelphia; James Hall, president of UAW Local 1311 along with other officers Joseph U. Avolia, vice president; James Priselac, financial secretary; Daniel Watton, member of the negotiating committee; and up to 50 “John Does.”

Citing strike-related strife, the company included in its request for injunction the affidavit of Joseph Niedzialkia, superintendent of scheduling and store, who described a backup of vehicles from the plant onto Langeloth Road.

The driver of a water tanker was forced to slam on his vehicle’s brakes to avoid backed-up traffic, missing them by mere feet, Niedzialkia alleged.

Contractors assigned to a project unrelated to the work performed by those on strike could not enter the plant due to picketing, according to an affidavit filed by Daniel Himmel, engineering manager.

“I just want to thank everyone within the community for their support and kindness during this time,” said Hall outside the courtroom.

“The support they have given is so overwhelming. People going up and down the hill waving at us, it’s overwhelming, giving us water and food, whatever we may need.

“We’ve also had Local 66, Operating Engineers and Local 3303 UAW at AK Steel. They came down to support us.”

Asked if any negotiations were scheduled, Hall said, “We are willing to sit down and talk.”

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