More than 700 striking steel workers here continued picketing Maryland's only aluminum smelting plant for the third straight day today, after talks between union and management negotiators became stalled last week.
Robert Easterday, president of United Steel Workers Local 7886, said today that no new talks between representatives of the Eastalco Aluminum Company and his union are scheduled.
Steel workers at Eastalco walked off their jobs shortly before midnight Sunday, just as their old contract expired. Picket lines were set up and state police were brought in to avert possible violence.
Police said they feared violence similar to that of a bloody walkout at Eastalco in 1977, when two strikers were shot and wounded, allegedly by a foreman's son.
So far this time, police have reported a few minor incidents. A picketer was struck and slightly injured Tuesday night by a truck leaving the plant around 8:30 p.m., police said. No charges have been filed against the driver, they said.
Today, broken glass and nails remained scattered at the plant's entrance on Manor Woods Road. Police said several vehicles entering the plant have had their tires punctured by the debris.
Company officials and union representatives met for a 17-hour session July 25 and again for one hour on July 27. But union negotiators said they rejected what the company considered its "final offer."
Meanwhile, about 240 managers worked extra hours today to keep the factory running at 75 percent of its production capacity, according to Eastalco spokesman John Carnochan.
Key issues of the strike are paid holidays and work hours.
Before their contract expired, workers received 12 holidays a year. Eastalco wants to cut the number to eight, and the union wants at least 10.
Union workers are also demanding a return to a 40-hour work week. Earlier this year, the company placed the workers on a 32-hour work week, claiming the recession had caused reduced production.
Several months ago, the union also agreed to a three-year wage freeze if Eastalco would agree not to impose subsquent wage cuts. So far, Easterday said, those agreements have been met.
Some workers said the agreement meant a loss of $5,000 to $7,000 a year in their salaries.