1,200 March At International Paper Plant
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) _ More than 1,200 striking paper workers and their supporters marched past an International Paper Co. mill Saturday as replacement workers and supervisors kept the plant running.
″Scabs out, union in,″ the marchers chanted as they passed the mill’s three gates. State police in riot gear looked on and a state police helicopter circled overhead.
″I see it as a battle of David and Goliath,″ said Dale Martin, 50, who has worked in the plant for 14 years as a printer. ″It’s a matter of the company getting greedy.″
More than 3,400 workers in four states are involved in the job action that began as a lockout in Mobile, Ala. in March and led to strikes at plants in Jay, Maine, and De Pere, Wis., in June.
On Friday, Lock Haven strikers won unemployment benefits. Previously, the more than 700 striking union members at Lock Haven received only $55 a week from the strike fund.
In this blue-collar town of about 11,000, the strike has divided families and friends.
A pickup truck in the parade carried an effigy of a union worker who crossed the picket line with the words ″Super Scab″ written on the dummy’s chest, and mock gravestones bore the names of the 25 United Paperworkers International Union workers who have crossed the picket line.
″We have cases where there are wives in there and husbands out here, and vice versa,″ Martin said, gesturing toward the mill.
″We have sons who are union and fathers that are foremen in there, who are company,″ he said.
No arrests were reported along the two-mile route through the central Pennsylvania city.
Friday night, state police issued five criminal mischief and disorderly conduct tickets as strikers yelled and threw stones at the replacement workers at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. shift changes, said Evelyn Bomaster, dispatcher at the state police Lock Haven barracks.
One trooper was injured when a rock struck him on the arm, and several patrol cars were damaged by stones, Ms. Bomaster said.
Union members said they would stay out until the company agreed to remove the 260 replacement workers here and relinquish its demand that union workers give up automatic overtime on Sundays and holidays.
Company officials have said they will fire the replacements, but need concessions to remain competitive. Union employees in Lock Haven earn $10.96 an hour and work 39 Sundays a year on average, according to the union.