Union goons shoot up home with mother and 8-year-old daughter

It was a quiet April evening, shortly before midnight, and Deanna Ussery had already gone to bed. The house was dark except for a nightlight in the bedroom of her eight-year-old daughter, Sheila Ann.

Suddenly, there was an explosion of gunfire, and 12-gauge shotgun slugs shattered Sheila Ann’s bedroom windows, ripping her bedspread and tearing holes in the wall just above her bed. Miraculously, no one was hurt. Sheila Ann was away for the night.

A made for TV movie? No, a real-life story of terror in Hot Springs, Arkansas, as set forth in the official record of a trial against a United Steelworkers of America local in Garland County Circuit Court.

It is a story of union violence and harassment against five courageous women who defied the strike orders handed down by officials of a USW local against National Rejectors, Inc. of Hot Springs.

Even after the strike was over, the women were subjected to name calling, obscene language and threats. Glue or grease was rubbed on their chair seats at work. Supervisors had to accompany them to the bathroom for their protection. There were repeated incidents of hair-pulling, shoving, slapping and tire-slashing. They were pursued in their cars by thugs who tried to run them off the road.

The terror might have continued for many more months if it hadn’t been for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The Foundation is the only publicly supported charitable institution in America organized solely to provide free legal aid to employees whose rights have been violated because of abuses resulting from compulsory unionism.

After being asked for help, Foundation attorneys immediately filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, demanding an end to the campaign of intimidation and terror. The Board responded and the union publicly promised not to engage in such activities in the future if the NLRB agreed not to prosecute.

With the Foundation’s assistance, the five women also brought suit against the union and its officers in the Arkansas state court. In May 1980, a trial court jury awarded them a total of $250,000 in damages to compensate them for their losses and suffering, and to punish the union for its lawlessness.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is helping American workers in more than 250 cases, ranging from other union violence cases to those involving academic and political freedom and other fundamental rights. But it would like to do even more.

If you’d like to know more about the Foundation and how you can help workers like Deanna Ussery, visit:  www.NRTW.org



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