RAVENSWOOD - Arrests have been made in connection with tractor trailers driving through a picket line in Ravenswood Wednesday, officials said.
Officers with the West Virginia State Police's Jackson County Detachment said several individuals on the picket line threw rocks into the path of the oncoming vehicles, flattening the tires of the three trailers owned by BESL Transfer Co. A rock was also thrown at the windshield of one of the trucks, causing the vehicle's window to be shattered, police said.
The trailers were exiting the Costellium Plant in Ravenswood.
Officers said arrests were made Thursday evening in regard to the truck driver who was injured after the rock was thrown through his truck's window. Police said they established probable cause to arrest Robert Mason Sullivan II, 49, Evans, and Michael Robert Fowler, 43, Mount Alto, for felony destruction of property.
Fowler was charged with a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly throwing the rock that cracked the windshield. Sullivan was released on $5,000 bond and Fowler was released on $6,000 bond.
In addition to the driver being injured, officials with Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood are reporting other delivery trucks were also damaged at the plant where members of the United Steelworkers have been on strike since Sunday.
Company officials said there have been numerous incidents of picket line violence and misconduct.
''(Wednesday's) action was inexcusable," CEO Kyle Lorentzen said. "We will support the State Police fully as they investigate this attack and prosecute those responsible.
''Our primary concern is for the well-being and recovery of the driver, and ensuring the safety of other personnel working in and around the facility."
Limited production work is continuing at the facility with salaried personnel with regular deliveries being made.
The company is accusing striking workers with USW Local 5668 of engaging in a campaign of violence and intimidation. The company is also reporting incidents involving the damaging of delivery truck tires as well as verbal threats and harassment to those entering and leaving the plant.
Sgt. Michael Baylous, the public affairs officer with the West Virginia State Police, said three delivery trucks were damaged on Wednesday with the use of "jackrocks," nails welded together to resemble the type of jacks kids use to play with, used to puncture tires. Baylous confirmed one truck was damaged from a rock or something thrown through a window.
The name of the injured delivery truck driver was not released and his condition is unknown.
When asked for a comment from the union on the situation, Randall T. Moore, sub District Director for the United Steelworkers District 8, said he was extremely busy Thursday evening and he might be able to talk sometime today.
The company and union representatives have been in contract talks since May, but could not come to an agreement for around 700 employees at the Ravenswood plant. The company presented its final offer to the union on Aug. 1.
The union is objecting to changes the company wants to make to health care coverage that will significantly increase costs to employees and their families. The company said its proposal offers pay incentives for hourly employees as well as other economic benefits.