Advertisement

Judge warns protesters at Redland

July 14, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

WILLIAMSPORT - A Washington County Circuit judge has warned striking Teamsters at Redland Brick Co. that they will be fined up to $500 if they threaten other employees or vandalize company property.

The warning from Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III came last Friday when company officials alleged in court that strikers had threatened and intimidated nonunion employees in violation of a July 1 restraining order issued by Boone.

The initial order had barred more than 15 members of Teamsters Local 992 from picketing at any one time and prohibited violent or threatening behavior.

On Friday, after hearing testimony from employees, replacement workers and Washington County Sheriff's deputies, Boone said anyone found violating the restraining order would be fined from $100 to $500, court records said.

Advertisement

"The judge added some teeth to the (restraining) order," Redland President and CEO James Vinke said Tuesday.

The Williamsport plant's 180 Teamsters have been on strike since their contract expired June 18. The plant has been shut down since then and the company's kiln is being repaired. Redland hired replacement workers to ship stockpiled inventory for outstanding orders.

Workers are seeking concessions on vacation policies, salaries and benefits. A July 8 negotiating session between representatives of the Teamsters and Redland was unsuccessful.

Truck driver Jason Metheney, a replacement worker hired by Redland to haul bricks to customers, said his truck was struck by pellets from a pellet gun on July 8. In an affidavit filed in Circuit Court, he also said rocks had been thrown at his vehicle.

Metheney said that on the same day, a vehicle in front of him in traffic in Williamsport sat through three lights, preventing him from proceeding. Later, while he was driving on Interstate 70, a car pulled in front of him as he drove up a hill, slowed, and forced him to nearly come to a complete stop, Metheney said.

"This obviously caused a great danger to me and to other drivers on the highway. There is no question that these cars were targeting me and Redland," he said in the affidavit.

In separate affidavits, Washington County Sheriff's Deputies Mark Keys and Jeffrey Cooper said they saw strikers threatening truck drivers.

Shop Steward Glenn Jordan was present for some of the incidents described at the July 9 Circuit Court hearing and said Tuesday he believes they were misconstrued.

The complainants did not hear the comments correctly and were not being threatened, he said.

He denied that strikers have harassed truck drivers on the road.

"It could have been anybody" he said.

"The union does not condone any violence," said Jordan.

No strikers have been arrested, said Lt. Doug Mullendore of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

He said two deputies will remain at the plant indefinitely.

The company have fired at least three striking workers for alleged threats, Jordan said.

Vinke confirmed that some strikers had been fired but would not comment further.

Union and company officials are to meet Friday to discuss the possibility of rehiring the workers, Jordan said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|