Four workers were arrested Monday on trespassing charges while picketing outside the Woodland Pulp mill in Baileyville, according to a union official.
Woodland Pulp called police late Monday morning to allege that the workers — who have been striking since mid-October — were blocking trucks at the mill, said Brendan Wolf, the company’s executive director of human resources and safety. Wolf said the trucks were eventually able to get through.
Calls to the Baileyville Police Department seeking confirmation of the arrests were not returned on Monday.
One of the arrested workers was from the local branch of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the other three were part of a machinists’ union from Bath Iron Works that came in solidarity, according to Devin Ragnar, a spokesperson for the BIW union.
Ragnar disputed the trespassing charges, arguing that the workers were on public land during their protest, but he said that the picket line did disrupt traffic at one point while crossing a road. Ragnar said there were about 40-50 workers on the picket line Monday.
Workers have been on strike at the pulp mill since Oct. 14 after the mill proposed a new job classification that would expand the workers’ tasks, which they claim is an attempt to decrease the union’s bargaining power by moving away from special skills in the workforce.
Mill representatives have previously said the proposal is meant to improve and broaden the skill sets of the mill workers.