Workers on strike at Woodland Pulp in Baileyville said two picketers were struck on Monday by a car driven by a salaried employee at the company.
Picketers recognized the woman behind the wheel as a salaried worker at the plant, according to business representative Dan Loudermilk of IAM District 4.
“This car just kept on coming,” said Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, who was on the picket line with the workers when the incident occurred. “I’m not saying it was going fast, but she never stopped. She tried to push them out of the way with her vehicle [and] hit one of the guys in the side of the leg and then another guy in the back of the leg.”
Jackson said the strikers had been pacing outside the gate leading to Woodland Pulp’s administrative building when a car approached the crosswalk.
“I’m sure the two men that got hit don’t even have a bruise,” he said. “But it was pretty evident that she was angry and trying to make some type of statement. You don’t get to just drive over people because they’re walking in front of your vehicle. That’s not acceptable.”
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The strike by the union representing mechanics and oilers at Woodland Pulp follows the rejection of a company proposal to reclassify specialized workers. Maine AFL-CIO published a video of the incident on its Facebook page. Filmed by a nearby bystander, the video appears to show a car making contact with at least one pedestrian on the crosswalk.
Brendan Wolf, Woodland Pulp’s executive director for human resources, said he was near the vehicle at the time of the incident. From his vantage point, Wolf claimed he did not see anyone make contact with the car.
“It’s just my personal opinion on what I viewed, [but] it was almost like it was staged [with] someone basically blocking the roadway, blocking the crosswalk. I don’t want to accuse anybody of that, but to me that would be the more likely scenario,” Wolf said.
Jackson said the claim that the incident was staged is “ridiculous.”
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.