Judge sides with Steel of West Virginia

HUNTINGTON - A Cabell Circuit Judge granted an injunction Wednesday limiting the actions of striking members of a steelworkers union.

Judge John Cummings sided with Steel of West Virginia after the company filed a complaint Tuesday in Cabell Circuit Court against the United Steel Workers of America Local Union No. 37.

Since 11 p.m. on Aug. 25, the union has carried out a strike, picketing in front of the Huntington plant.

While on strike, the complaint says the union has harassed non-striking employees at Steel of West Virginia, blocking gates, standing in the path of vehicles and threatening violence.

"As a direct consequence of the said unlawful acts and conduct of the defendants herein named, and those other persons acting in concert with them, Plaintiff's vehicles and employees have been prevented from entering and leaving Plaintiff's premises and carrying out the lawful operations and business of the plaintiff; vendors, suppliers and contractors, and their vehicles and employees, engaged in lawful business with the plaintiff, have been prevented from entering or leaving Plaintiff's site; and Plaintiff's conduct of its lawful operations and business have been seriously disrupted, interfered with and prevented," the complaint says.

Cummings agreed and limited the number of pickets at each of the several sites to six -- or no more than 12 p to 15 minutes before or after a shift change.

Local 37 will also have to keep a record of assigned pickets, and union member Willie Adkins, who is alleged to have attacked a management employee, is restricted from being on the picket lines.

Reportedly, plant President Tim Duke says violent acts have occurred at the plant. He says nails were thrown out onto the street one night, and a suspicious fire start at 4 a.m. another day that may have caused $200,000.

The president of Local 37, Craig Knight, reportedly denied the union's involvement with any such activity, saying a blown transformer started the fire.

Thomas E. Scarr of Huntington law firm Jenkins Fenstermaker represented Steel of West Virginia.

Cabell Circuit Court case number 06-C-623

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