Friday, May 21, 1999

Two more Hilltop pickets injured by trucks

Contract talks remain stalled

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Two striking members of Teamsters Local 100 picketing Hilltop Basic Resources Inc. and the Paul Brown Stadium construction site were injured in separate accidents Thursday afternoon.

        They are the second and third concrete drivers who have been hurt in the 5-day-old strike. One was struck by debris kicked up by a passing truck. The other was struck in the chest and knocked to the ground by concrete truck driven by a replacement driver.

        Neither injury was life-threatening.

        About 30 drivers have been picketing Hilltop since Monday when they went on strike. Contract talks have been stalled over job-security issues.

        On Wednesday, Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Melba Marsh restricted pickets outside Hilltop's plant and adjacent stadium site after a Teamster was struck by a passing concrete truck. The union member received minor leg injuries. .

        Hilltop President John Steele Jr. said his company will go back before Judge Marsh to seek further restrictions after Thursday's incidents. He said pickets are walking in front of concrete trucks and pose a risk to themselves. Hilltop will ask that the pickets be limited to stationary posts outside the gates.

        Just before 4 p.m. Thursday, George Fausz, 53, a striking Teamster, was apparently standing in the path of a truck on Water Street when he was struck in the chest, fell backward and knocked unconscious when his head hit the concrete behind him, said Jimmy Matheson, Teamsters organizer. Mr. Fausz was taken to St. Luke Hospital East, where he was treated and released.

        About a half-hour later, a second Teamster, Bernie Pfeffer, 51, was picketing the Hilltop site on Mehring Way when his right leg was struck by debris kicked up by a passing truck, Mr. Matheson said. Mr. Pfeffer was taken to St. Eliza beth Medical Center North where he was treated and released for an injured foot.

        Mr. Matheson said the pickets were acting within the guidelines set by Judge Marsh. He blamed inexperienced drivers for the accident involving Mr. Fausz, and bad circumstance for that of Mr. Pfeffer.

        Mr. Steele said all replacement drivers are licensed and trained.

        Negotiations broke off between the union and company Wednesday night. No new bargaining sessions have been scheduled. The company said it has been able to make its deliveries to the stadium project and to work being done on Fort Washington Way.

        Cincinnati police are investigating both incidents.


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