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Incidents reported at Redland Brick

August 05, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

WILLIAMSPORT - Gasoline or a similar chemical was poured outside the front of the Redland Brick Co. corporate office early Wednesday and an attempt made to light the substance with a candle, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Later Wednesday, at 3:30 a.m., a "chemical explosive device" was thrown at a patrol car parked in the lot outside the building on Clear Spring Road, Lt. Doug Mullendore said.

The device exploded near the empty car, he said. No one was injured in either incident and the patrol car was not damaged, he said.

Redland has been paying the Sheriff's Department for around-the-clock police coverage since members of Teamsters Local 992 went on strike June 18 when their contract expired.

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Union members have been picketing the plant 24 hours a day.

Mullendore said those responsible for the earlier incident poured the liquid at the front of the property while deputies were at the left side of the building where workers were picketing.

The front side of the building is not visible from where they were standing, he said.

He refused to comment on the type of material used.

No arrests had been made, he said.

"We are examining the physical evidence left at the scene," Mullendore said.

Redland shop steward Glenn Jordan said that he wasn't aware of the incidents and doesn't believe they were the work of any of the company's 108 union workers.

"There's no way any of the picketers could have done something like that with the deputies down there," he said.

One striker was charged last month after a company security guard was kicked in the leg.

A restraining order preventing Teamsters from intimidating employees or vandalizing property has been in effect since July 1.

Redland CEO James Vinke said Wednesday the company is beefing up its private security in response to the vandalism.

He refused to comment on the incidents.

Negotiators for the brick maker and the union last week ironed out vacation and health insurance issues, Jordan said.

Despite that, workers on Friday voted down a contract proposal 43-38.

On Wednesday morning, union members by a vote of 57-31 again rejected the proposal.

Jordan said the workers are holding out because the three-year contract would expire Dec. 18, 2002, instead of June 18, 2002, three years after the previous pact expired.

The company's busiest time is during the summer months, and "they're trying to prevent another summer strike," Jordan said.

Talks between the union and Redland have reach an impasse, said Vinke.

"Given the vote today, the company is moving ahead with a plan to resume brick manufacturing using both permanent and temporary replacement workers," he said in a press release Wednesday.

"As usual, the company is ready to continue negotiations with the union in order to bring the strike to an end," he said.

No new negotiations have been scheduled.

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