Six days after an Iowa District Court Judge severely limited the ability for striking John Deere union workers to picket outside the Davenport Works plant, the UAW Local 281 is asking for that order to be rescinded.
Not only were there no merits to Deere & Company’s complaints about union activities, the motion filed Monday afternoon (Oct. 25) said that the union first became aware the company filed a temporary restraining order on Oct. 20, after the court order came down that day.
“At no point prior to being served with the order did any defendant receive notice from the court or the plaintiff that the temporary restraining order was being sought,” the union petition says. Not one signed affidavit was submitted as evidence to support Deere’s original claim for a temporary injunction, it says.
“Upon review of the filings, there was nothing submitted in evidence or in argument that any attempt was made to contact defendants regarding the plaintiff’s petition,” according to the union attorneys, Hedberg & Boulton, P.C., of Des Moines. The Local 281 primary office is within blocks of the Deere Davenport Works plant, the petition says.
Within two hours of Deere submitting its 11-page petition (with 13 pages of exhibits) to the Iowa District Court for Scott County, District Court Judge Marlita Greve filed its six-page order, providing the precise injunctive relief sought by the company and adopted specific findings of fact based solely from findings by the plaintiff, the union filing says.
“Defendants were denied the opportunity to present any form of evidence in this matter to address the substance of the allegations,” the union attorneys said, noting an attached affidavit shows that the defendants do have substantive responses to the allegations presented by Deere.
For these reasons, the union is asking for the court to vacate the temporary injunction immediately.
The Oct. 20 temporary injunction prohibited the union and its members from:
- trespassing on Deere’s property at Davenport Works or the driveways leading to Davenport Works from the public roads;
- obstructing the ways of ingress and egress to and from Deere premises, bodily or through the use of physical objects or in any other way;
- picketing, loitering, or congregating near the contractor gate entrance;
- engaging in unlawful activities including unlawful mass picketing and/or parading, verbal and physical harassment, intimidation, vandalism, blocking, or impeding human and vehicular traffic to and from Davenport Works, and any other activity resulting in the infringement of company rights and disruption of business operations;
- damaging, obstruction or otherwise making unusable or unsafe any part of Deere’s facility;
- damaging the vehicles or property of Deere’s guests, agents, employees, or contractors, or threatening damage to the vehicles or property;
- threatening or harassing any non-striking employees, drivers, vendors or customers who are lawfully conducting business with Deere;
- picketing, loitering, or congregating at or near any entrance to or exit from the property in numbers larger than four;
An Oct. 25 affidavit provided by Michael Mansker (chair of Local UAW 281) said the union has taken steps to ensure orderly picketing during the strike at Davenport Works.
“Law enforcement has not arrested or cited anyone, and actually has complimented gate captains about the orderly nature of the pickets and conduct of members,” Mansker said. He was not aware of any safety hazards posed by union members, and no threatening behavior.
The affidavit said the union is not aware of any vehicle being blocked and prevented from entry or exit at the plant. The union is committed to responding to complaints about alleged misconduct by picketers and removing from picket duty anyone who is involved in misconduct on the picket line, Mansker said.