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Redland talks fail as strike continues

June 30, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

WILLIAMSPORT- Striking union workers continued to picket Wednesday in front of Redland Brick Inc. after the company and Teamsters Local 992 failed to hammer out a contract to replace the one that expired two weeks ago.

"It's a chess game," said Glenn Jordan, Teamsters shop steward.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for July 8.

Redland President and CEO James Vinke said the union wanted eight or nine new items added to the contract offer Redland made last month.

Union workers on June 17 rejected by an 88-4 vote Redland's original proposal, which had been endorsed by Teamsters officials.

Jordan said he was unaware of additions and said Redland chose not to negotiate as a result of the union's June 17 strike vote.

Jordan said workers want better insurance and retirement benefits and paid leave for sick days and family emergencies.

Vinke, who didn't attend Wednesday's negotiations, said "this is a no-win situation for anybody." Union members not getting paid during the strike, and the brick-making company is being damaged by the work stoppage, he said.

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Redland hired nonunion workers to begin shipping bricks Tuesday to meet customers' demands, Vinke said.

These workers and private contractors crossed the picket line, angering striking workers, Jordan said.

Washington County Sheriff's deputies formed human barricades to keep back picketers' as the trucks left the brick yard.

About 12 Sheriff's Department cruisers were in Redland's parking lot at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday when a truck pulled out. Four Maryland State Police cruisers were at Redland earlier in the afternoon.

"We're just here to keep the peace," said Sheriff's Department Lt. Doug Mullendore.

Mullendore said the Sheriff's Department had received a report that a truck hit picketers Tuesday as it was leaving the plant. Three union employees were injured but were not taken to the hospital.

A fire marshal's report said a deputy extinguished two burning tires on the Conococheague Creek bridge on Md. 68 at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Jordan said he knew nothing about the tires.

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