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USWA: NLRB CHARGES BAYOU STEEL DISCRIMINATED AGAINST STEELWORKERS IN TENNESSEE; USWA SEEKS BACK PAY AND REINSTATEMENT OF WORKERS

PITTSBURGH, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) today issued the following:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against Bayou Steel Corp., charging the company with unlawfully refusing to recognize the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and to hire workers at its minimill in Harriman, Tenn., because of their membership in the union.

The complaint, issued March 6 by NLRB Regional Director Martin M. Arlook in Atlanta, backs up charges by the union that Bayou discriminated against union members in hiring a new work force after it bought the Tennessee Valley Steel Co. (TVS) plant in February, 1995.

Bayou Steel "failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to hire employee applicants ... because these former employees of TVS were members of and participated in activities on behalf of the Union ...," Arlook said in the complaint.

Arlook asserted that Bayou Steel, as the successor of TVS, is legally required to recognize and bargain with the union.

The complaint also names an employment agency, At Work Personnel, which conducted interviews of job applicants and helped the company hire its new work force.
 If the charges are sustained, the NLRB could order the company to reinstate the workers who were denied employment, with back pay and benefits. About 100 union members are affected, some having been refused re-employment as early as March 1, 1995.


A hearing on the complaint has been set before an NLRB administrative law judge on June 10 in Kingston, Tenn.

"With the large number of unfair labor practice charges against Bayou Steel in Tennessee as well as at its plant in LaPlace, La., it's clear this company is willing to use unlawful methods in dealing with workers," said USWA Vice President Richard H. Davis. "When you are dealing with an unscrupulous employer like Bayou Steel, it's good to have a union like the United Steelworkers of America that will go to the limit to defend members."

The former TVS workers, members of USWA Local 9293, reported that when they applied for jobs with Bayou they were asked for qualifications that had nothing to do with their job skills. For example, high school diplomas were demanded of workers with 30 years' experience in the mill.

Among the workers who were denied jobs was Local 9293 President Steve Branson. Lacking a high school diploma, Branson quickly passed a high school equivalency test and presented it to the company. Still he was not hired.

"It's been a long fight, but when people stick together we can win," Branson said. "It's about time that Bayou Steel's management is brought to justice for the way they treat workers."

The USWA had represented workers at the Harriman mill for many years under a former owner, Tennessee Steel & Forge Co., which ceased operation in the early 1970s. After an eight-year shutdown, the mill was opened non-union by Tennessee Valley Steel in 1980. In February 1990, the workers again organized, voting to join the USWA. The plant was largely idled and most of its unionized workers laid off when Bayou bought it and attempted to rebuild a non-union work force.
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/CONTACT: USWA Communications Department, 412-562-2442, John Herron, USWA Staff Representative, 423-282-2724 or 423-983-4742, or Steve Branson, USWA Local 9293 President, 423-376-4754/

CO: United Steelworkers of America; Bayou Steel Corp. ST: Tennessee IN: MNG SU: LBR

CC-JS -- PGTH011 -- 1290 03/07/96 16:16 EST
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Date:Mar 7, 1996
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