BATH, Maine — Four former officers of the largest union at Maine’s Bath Iron Works have sued the Machinists union for defamation and slander.
Former Local S6 President Mike Keenan, Chief Steward Mike Cyr, local trustee Cathy London and Vice President Troy Osgood were removed by the parent union in March 2008 after allegations surfaced of shoddy accounting, pornography on union computers and failure to deal with grievances promptly.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Sagadahoc County Superior Court, the four contend the Machinists union launched a campaign of “false, malicious and reckless” allegations. The lawsuit contends the former officers suffered emotional distress and some had to seek medical attention. They are seeking unspecified and punitive damages.
The suit contends that porn found on computers was viewed on dates the officers were either out of state or when others were in control of the computers. It also says Machinists officials were angry because Local S6 wasn’t contributing to a fund that supports the Machinists’ political action committee.
John Carr, a spokesman for the Machinists union, said Wednesday the union would not comment until it has reviewed the complaint.
Keenan, who argues that he was a victim of a power grab for failing to follow the parent union’s political agenda, said he is looking forward to putting the case before a jury.
“I’m absolutely confident that as long as I get before a judge and jury, and outside the grasp of the international union, the truth will come out,” Keenan said.
Actions taken by the Machinists union fit a pattern the parent union has established across the country of going after local union officials it doesn’t like, said lawyer Leon Rosenblatt, a Connecticut lawyer who represents the four plaintiffs.
“It’s a real strong case,” he said.