Sheriff Arrests 10 Armed Striking Steelworkers in Hannibal, Ohio
This story is of interest for two reasons. First, these “hillbilly” Steelworkers are obviously violating a Taft-Hartley Court injunction with knives, baseball bats, an ax, and wooden clubs in defense of their jobs. They have the right idea!
They don’t appear to have faith in “informational picket lines.” Second, the Monroe County Sheriff, Manifred Keylor, is a relative of mine. Monroe County, Ohio, where my father was born, has the largest number of people with the family name Keylor in the United States. Actually, only about 300 people in the entire country carry my family name. I grew up in the hills of Washington County Ohio, just south of Monroe County.
During the Vietnam war a U.S. Navy sailor named Keylor (another relative no doubt) was court martialed for sabotaging-the engines of the aircraft carrier in which he was serving off the coast of Vietnam.
Ten striking factory workers armed with knives, bats and clubs were arrested after attempting to block vans entering an Ormet Corp. aluminum plant, police said.
The picketers were charged Friday with violating a court order requiring them to stay at least 2,000 feet away from the plant’s entrance, Monroe County Sheriff Manifred Keylor said in a statement.
Additional charges of resisting arrest and assaulting law enforcement officers were pending, the statement said.
Police said they seized various weapons from the picketers, including a sledgehammer, an ax, knives, baseball bats and wooden clubs.
Danny Longwell, a local steelworkers’ union representative, said picketers blocked the vans because they believed they were carrying replacement workers into the plant on Friday (November 26). A call to the union seeking additional comment Saturday was not immediately returned.
But Ormet chief executive Mike Williams said Saturday the vans were carrying food, additional security personnel and one salaried worker, not replacement workers.
About 1,300 workers at two plants in Hannibal went on strike Monday (November22) against Ormet, which has sought U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval to void its labor agreements and impose new ones. The company is trying to cut $23 million in costs by freezing pension benefits, raising worker health plan contributions and changing work rules.
Union officials want the court to rule on its motion to have the company consider bids to buy the plants, which are located about 115 miles southeast of Columbus.
The situation outside the plants has been tense since the strike began. A truck was turned away Monday morning by crowds of picketers at the company gates and the driver of another truck was arrested after hitting a striker several hours later. The striker was treated at a hospital and released.
Wheeling, West Virginia based Ormet has about 2,000 employees and plants in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Louisiana. Workers are striking only at the two Hannibal plants.
—Associated Press, November 27, 2004