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USW: RAC RETREATS FROM LAWSUIT; STEELWORKERS TO PRESS ON WITH CLAIMS AGAINST RAC

 USW: RAC RETREATS FROM LAWSUIT;
 STEELWORKERS TO PRESS ON WITH CLAIMS AGAINST RAC
 PITTSBURGH, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) said today that Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation (RAC) has told a West Virginia state court it wants to drop a lawsuit it brought against the Steelworkers union just three months ago.
 RAC "thinks it can file a groundless case against the union, get a splash of publicity, then pull the case and walk away scot free," said George Becker, vice president, administration, of the Steelworkers in Pittsburgh. "We will fight this and ask the court to keep the case alive, first, to clear the good name of our union, and second, to prove that RAC brought this lawsuit to curb our free speech and for other improper purposes," Becker stated.
 "Time after time, RAC has abused our court system in cavalier fashion," Becker charged, "just so they can deny justice to the 1,700 locked out workers -- people who average 52 years of age, with 24 years of service at that plant -- that's wrong."
 The union said that last Sept. 9, amid great press fanfare, RAC sued the Steelworkers, claiming the union had illegally divulged "trade secrets about RAC in the union's campaign connecting RAC to fugitive financier Marc Rich of Zug, Switzerland. The USW said that at the same time, RAC used the court action as an opportunity to trumpet a press release highly critical of the union.
 According to a Dec. 13 request to the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, RAC now intends to drop the lawsuit (Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation vs. United Steelworkers of America, C.A. No. 91-C-3081).
 In its response to the lawsuit, the Steelworkers union had insisted that RAC was abusing the courts with a frivolous lawsuit aimed at interfering with the Steelworkers publicity campaign against RAC, a legitimate first amendment activity.
 RAC "produced no evidence at all of union wrongdoing," Jim Bowen, District 23 director, pointed out. "In fact, this lawsuit revealed that many of the so-called trade 'secrets' at issue were made public, not by the union, but by RAC's lawyers and witnesses in a state unemployment compensation hearing."
 "Furthermore," Bowen continued, "we instructed our lawyers to force RAC to put up or shut up." Since that time, RAC has refused to open its books to the union's requests for evidence, Bowen said. "It's just that simple," concluded Bowen, "when asked to put up or shut up, RAC just shut up. And just as simply, we believe RAC should be called to account by the people of West Virginia."
 -0- 12/17/91
 /CONTACT: Joe Chapman of the USW, 304-768-7395, or USW Communications, 412-562-2442/ CO: Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation; United Steelworkers of America ST: West Virginia IN: MNG SU:


DM -- PG005 -- 3064 12/17/91 15:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 17, 1991
Words:466
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