UPS Employee Files Civil Conspiracy Lawsuit After Stabbing by Teamsters Assailants in Florida

Nat. Right to Work attorneys filed suit Sep. 1 against the Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Local 769 in Miami, and ten union bosses and assailants for their involvement in the bloody assault on Rod Carter during the nationwide IBT strike against United Parcel Service. The complaint filed today in Fla. state court charges the defendants with civil conspiracy, assault and battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.  The suit also outlines racketeering charges against Local 769 for engaging in a “pattern of criminal activity” under the Fla. Criminal Practice Act.

Rod Carter, linebacker for the 1989 University of Miami Hurricanes and former 10th round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys, continued to work during the nationally ordered Teamsters strike against UPS. When interviewed by a television reporter, Carter explained that he continued to work to support his family. Following his comments on television, Carter and his wife, Earthly, received a threatening phone call which phone records show was placed from the home of Anthony Cannestro, Sr., president of Local 769.

The complaint says that on the following day, a car driven by Marcelo Rodriguez and carrying union militants Orestes Espinosa, Angel Mielgo, Werner Haechler, Benigno Rojas, and Adrian Paez pulled behind Carter’s UPS truck. Mielgo jumped from the vehicle, drew Carter from the truck, and began punching, kicking, and beating him. Espinosa, Paez, and Haechler quickly joined Mielgo in beating Carter. During the scramble, Rojas produced an ice pick and stabbed Carter six times. The union paid to bail out the assailants who, except for Rojas, never served a jail sentence.

“Rod Carter chose to exercise his Right to Work. For that, he became a target for a union campaign of intimidation and brutal violence,” said NRTW Foundation Vice-President Stefan Gleason. NRTW Foundation is providing free legal aid to Carter.

The civil charges follow on the heels of criminal proceedings which resulted in the conviction of Rojas for “aggravated assault,” Haechler’s conviction of “attempted 2nd degree murder,” and conviction of Espinoza, Mielgo, Paez, and Rodriguez to “accessory after the fact.” However, the complaint filed today extends beyond the individuals involved in the physical beating of Carter itself. The charges also implicate Cannestro, Sr. and union officers Rolando Pina and Joshua Zivalich on charges of Civil Conspiracy for condoning the attack on Carter.

Sworn statements show that in a meeting held a few days before the beginning of the UPS strike, Cannestro, Pina, and Zivalich organized a meeting of union members. At that meeting, the three union officials encouraged, authorized, and sanctioned the workers to engage in “ambulatory pickets,” which entail Teamsters militants stalking non-striking workers on their delivery routes for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, and interfering with their ability to do their jobs. Later in the meeting, union officials informed union activists that the union would provide bail bonds and legal representation should they be arrested by police. [See <http://www.nrtw.org/b/nr_161.htm>]