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Pulte Homes files federal lawsuit against Laborers’ union

Pulte Homes files federal lawsuit against Laborers’ union
Paul Egan / The Detroit News

Bloomfield Hills — The Laborers’ International Union has organized an unlawful campaign to disrupt the business activities of Pulte Homes, the nation’s largest new home builder charged in a federal lawsuit filed in Detroit today.

Pulte, based in Bloomfield Hills, alleges the Washington, D.C.-based union has placed false information about Pulte on its Web site and has organized a campaign to deluge the company and its officials with telephone calls and e-mails, some of which are threatening.

The union “instructed its members to engage in a telephone campaign designed to intimidate and harass Pulte employees and to prevent those employees from performing their job duties, communicating with the general public, customers and co-workers, and preventing Pulte, in general, from conducting normal business operations,” the lawsuit alleges. “In the course of just a few days, Pulte received thousands of e-mails and hundreds if not thousands of telephone calls at its headquarters and various sales offices.”

Dawn Page, a spokeswoman for the union, issued a prepared statement that said the allegations are false.

“This is really about working people trying to join together to improve their lives and sharing a sense of unity,” Page said. “Pulte workers and (the union) want Pulte to be a successful and profitable company, but a responsible company also.”

Pulte’s workers are not represented by the Laborers’ International Union.

According to the complaint, a dispute arose between Pulte and the union after employee Roberto Baltierra was fired in Arizona on Sept. 4.

The union falsely complained that Baltierra was fired for wearing a Laborers T-shirt and also falsely claimed that his seven crew members were also fired for supporting the union, the complaint alleges. In fact, only Baltierra was fired and his dismissal was not related to his T-shirt or union activities, Pulte claims in the lawsuit.

The union’s campaign featured slogans such as: “Rehire the Tucson Seven,” and telephone messages such as: “Put the employees back to work or you will rot in hell,” the lawsuit alleges.

The suit, assigned to U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff, alleges violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, tortuous interference with business relations and civil conspiracy.

Two union officials, Terence M. O’Sullivan and Randy Mayhew, are also named as defendants. (313) 222-2069