Re: Strikers fired upon

dckom (dckom@atlcom.net)
Wed, 02 Jul 1997 13:31:33 +0000 (GMT)


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 1997

STEELWORKER PICKETS FIRED ON THIS MORNING AT MSI PLANT IN MARIETTA;

WORKERS SAY SHOTS FIRED FROM DIRECTION OF PLANT RUN WITH SCAB LABOR

Marietta, Ohio -- The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) said three pickets narrowly escaped injury today when a gunman laid down a barrage of shots into and around a trailer being used as a headquarters by workers on strike against Magnetic Specialty Inc.

Union representatives said that replacement workers brought in to break the 18-week strike at MSI have repeatedly threatened union members with firearms, and pose a threat to the community.

Last month, one of MSI's strikebreaking recruits gunned down a state trooper in Charleston, W.V., before being shot twice and apprehended. USWA representative Gary Cochran said another MSI replacement recently threatened Steelworker pickets with a .357 magnum pistol, and was picked up by police, though the offender continues to work at the plant.

"The union members are standing united," said striker Gary West, one of three workers on the picket line when the shots were fired. The other two union members present were Shawn Carpenter and Darrin Fulton.

West said that at approximately 2:30 a.m. today several shots were fired at the union pickets on Gilman St., four of which hit the trailer. He said police found one of the bullets, which is being examined. No arrests have been made.

West, who was also present during the police investigation, said, "The shots seemed to come from the area of MSI's loading docks." He said the union's picnic table, chairs and picket signs were stolen and thrown into the river last night.

No union members have been accused of misconduct during the labor dispute, which Cochran says stems from MSI manager Gary Murphy's refusal to negotiate with workers after employees voted in a National Labor Relations Board election to be represented by the Steelworkers Aug. 17, 1995 by a margin of 65 to 33.

"Yesterday, union supporters passed out handbills about the strike at a restaurant and bar in Marietta where MSI manager like to hang out. This morning, we get these gun shots," Cochran said.

Cochran said that despite the hostility union workers have faced in this strike, they are more determined than ever to see it through to a successful conclusion.

MSI produces magnet strips used on refrigerators and in the automotive industry.

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