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Cascade worker injured as talks drag on

Keywords: Tags  Cascade Steel Rolling Mills, United Steelworks, strike, injury, investigation, Leo Gerard, Joseph Munger, Lee Frakes USW Local 8378

NEW YORK — A striking worker was injured when struck by a car operated by a security guard at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in McMinnville, Ore. Thursday morning.

In response, the USW is demanding an investigation into the incident. "We are shocked and outraged that the driver was merely given a traffic citation, even though the evidence is clear that he stuck the USW picketer with his vehicle on purpose," USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in a statement Friday.

Operations at the Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. subsidiary were suspended six days ago after unionized workers launched an unfair labor practices strike. Mediated negotiations this past week have so far failed to produce a contract to replace one that expired April 1.

"Cascade is urging mediation over the weekend so that everyone can get back to work as soon as possible," a company spokesman told AMM.

He declined to comment specifically on the injured worker.

"Our members are calmed down, but they’re mad," USW Local 8378 president Joseph Munger told AMM. "There’s no reason to get back to work until there’s a tentative agreement in place. Our members will be on the picket line this weekend ... right now, (the company is) making it impossible to negotiate."

The security guard is employed by an outside contractor and is not a Cascade Steel employee, a national USW spokesman said.

The USW worker, Lee Frakes, sustained a serious injury and is recovering at home after being hospitalized, the USW statement said.

The company and union representatives resumed negotiations Monday afternoon following a weekend break, Munger said.

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