11TH Circuit Upholds $1.7 Million Jury Verdict Against Carpenters Union for Illegal Secondary Boycott Campaign Against Non-Union Contractor

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The Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council mounted a campaign against Fidelity Interior in Atlanta, GA. The union sent letters to owners and general contractors warning them of adverse consequences if they used Fidelity, a non-union contractor that the union deemed to be “unfair.” When the owners and general contractors ignored the union’s request to use union-approved contractors and let work to Fidelity, the union engaged in an aggressive campaign designed to force owners and general contractors to cease doing business with Fidelity.

The campaign took many forms. The union picketers, mostly homeless people paid by the union, were transported in the union’s Big Red Bus to march, picket and chant in front of construction projects where Fidelity was working, pass out handbills asking the public to support its cause, and handbilling and erecting large banners claiming that people doing business with Fidelity were to be “shamed.” The demonstrations included upwards of 100 people who would march around the site chanting slogans and calling people who crossed the picket line “rats” or worse. The demonstrations were so loud that workers in office buildings could not conduct meetings.

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