The Utah 3rd District Court has issued a restraining order prohibiting certain activities by striking employees of US WEST.
The order, released Friday afternoon by Judge Stephen L. Henriod, will not stop any actions that the union condones, nor will it change approved strike tactics, said Gail Metcalf, president of Communication Workers of Amer-ica Local 7704."We have a legal right to protest and will continue to protest until our contract is resolved," Metcalf said.
Prohibited actions include restricting access to US WEST buildings and intimidating people entering or leaving the buildings.
Henriod issued the restraining order in response to a suit filed Friday by US WEST. In the suit, US WEST said that a company manager was struck in the head with a rock, that a parking lot was blocked during a CWA rally on Thursday and that three CWA workers had used a gun to intimidate a US WEST contract employee at a Salt Lake hotel on Thursday.
In connection with the hotel incident, the Assosciated Press reported that police arrested a CWA member on Thursday under suspicion of public intoxication and making threats with a gun. A 9 mm Beretta with 13 rounds was confiscated from the man, who was booked into jail on the misdemeanor charges and later released on his own recognizance.
"The allegations that they are making are not accurate, they are a misrepresentation of the facts, and we will have to deal with them in a court of law," Metcalf said.
She said the CWA would continue its protests outside US WEST buildings but would assure that the strikers don't break union rules.
US WEST, which asserts that all of the alleged incidents happened, is not attempting to halt protests, said Michael Frandsen, company spokesman. Instead, they just want to protect the employees still working and their customers. No customers have been threatened or hurt during the strike.
"The union has every right to picket, but they should do it peacefully, not by shouting profanities or intimidation," Frandsen said.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Frandsen said, where US WEST will seek a preliminary injunction. However, the company won't seek to curtail any lawful actions by protesters.
The suit was filed against the union, not individuals, because all incidents involved CWA members and they should be held accountable, Frandsen said. He didn't believe that the union would condone such actions, however.