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Redland, Teamsters to meet June 30

June 23, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

WILLIAMSPORT - Redland Brick Inc. and Teamsters officials will meet June 30 to try to reach a contract accord and return union workers to the brick-making plant, a union officials said Wednesday.

The plant has been shut down since last Friday when workers went on strike after rejecting a management proposal.

Shop Steward Glenn Jordan said he is optimistic about the meeting next week.

"I think it should be good. I thought we'd be back a lot sooner," he said.

Jordan said plant officials contacted the union about holding the session.

Union workers have been picketing the Williamsport plant since Friday, he said.

On Monday, plastic straps used to package brick shipments were vandalized and nails were dumped in the parking lot at Redland, Redland President and CEO James Vinke said Tuesday.

"We're dismayed about that," Vinke said Tuesday.

"We are not accusing anyone in particular for the recent vandalism at our plant and office," Vinke said.

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At least 20 brick packages were tampered with "very methodically," making it impossible to ship them without repackaging, Vinke said. Each package contains about 500 bricks and is about 3 1/2 feet high, he said.

Jordan said he had not seen the damage to the packages, but that it is not uncommon for that many packages to accidentally break open. He said fork lift drivers routinely fix packaging to stack the packages.

He said he didn't see the nails because union members had cleaned them up by the time he arrived at around 7 p.m. Monday at the request of the Redland management, Jordan said.

Jordan said some of the union members felt the nails might have been strewn to make them look bad.

"None of my guys did anything like that," Jordan said.

No one from Redland or the union reported flat tires from the nails on the ground.

Vinke said he increased security because of the incident.

When the incident occurred Monday afternoon, two deputies from the Washington County Sheriff's Department were guarding the company's gate. At night, personnel from a private security company employed by Redland are on hand.

Jordan said union picketers were told to move farther from the Clear Spring Road plant.

"They're only about 2 feet from the white line. That's pretty much in the road," Jordan said.

Vinke said it could take up to two weeks to restart the plant to the production level it was at before the shutdown.

He said crews were performing maintenance on the kiln, the core of brick production.

Jordan said it takes the kiln about two days to warm up to production standards.

The strike began last week when the union's contract expired midnight Thursday. The union has claimed the vacation policy is unfair.

The union voted down a contract proposed by Redland management that would have raised the average worker's pay from $13.50 to $14.20, plus benefits.

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