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Deputies at Redland paid by company

July 07, 1999

Redland BrickBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WILLIAMSPORT - Washington County Sheriff's deputies have been at the Redland Brick Co. 24 hours a day, enforcing an injunction against picketing Teamsters.

But the cost of the continued police presence isn't coming out of taxpayer's pockets, according to Sheriff Charles F. Mades.

Before the workers went out on strikc, Redland officials met with Mades and ironed out an agreement to be implemented if necessary, he said.

The company is paying the deputies time and a half wages to keep the peace at the plant, said Mades.

Deputies are at the Clear Spring Road plant during their free time, working four-hour shifts, he said.

The work doesn't affect their regular tour of duty or jeopardize the rest of the county's safety since all shifts are covered, Mades said.

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Union workers went on strike on June 18, after failing to arrive at a contract agreement with Redland. The plant has been shut down since then.

The two sides failed to reach an accord during a June 30 session.

Workers have said they are concerned about pay, vacation policies and working conditions. Another meeting is scheduled for today.

Tempers flared on the picket lines last week after Redland hired replacement workers to load and deliver bricks.

On June 30, more than 20 Teamsters gathered at the entrance of the plant and insulted replacement workers and prevented trucks from entering or leaving the property, deputies alleged.

Deputies formed a human barricade to keep back picketers as trucks left the brick yard, deputies said.

Burning tires were found on the road and nearby property.

Glenn Jordan, Teamsters Local 992 shop steward, denies any union involvement in the fire or previous acts of vandalism to Redland property and inventory.

On July 1, Redland officials petitioned for an injunction restraining the protesters.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III granted the order, which prohibits more than 15 strikers from picketing at one time, and bars them from damaging Redland property and blocking access to the entrance. It also called for workers to refrain from threatening or intimidating salaried and temporary employees.

"It's had a positive effect," said Redland President and CEO James Vinke, who said the police presence has had a calming effect.

Shop steward Jack Kirby, called the injunction unnecessary as he picketed in 100-degree weather Tuesday. He alleged that picketers were being harassed and being filmed by a private security company hired by Redland.

Bringing in replacement workers may have angered union members but it was necessary because the brick industry is highly competitive, said Vinke.

"If we don't take care of them now they may never buy brick from us again," he said of customers.

The temporary workers are not making bricks but are using those in stock to fill orders, he said.

"It's in their best interest in the long run," said Vinke.

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