A striking worker at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills was treated at Providence Newberg Medical Center today after a car driven by a security guard bumped him on the picket line. The incident occurred about 5 a.m. this morning at the west entrance to the employee parking lot outside Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in McMinnville. Members of United Steelworkers Local 8378 have been on strike since Sunday, and melt shop worker Lee Frakes had just begun a picket line shift when the driver drove through the picket line as he was walking.
“He put his bumper right up against my leg and then he hit the gas,” Frakes said.
Picketers called police, who took statements from witnesses, and cited the driver for failure to yield to a pedestrian — a traffic infraction.
McMinnville police captain Matt Scales said there were no injuries and no damage to the vehicle, and that the driver — an employee of Prostar Security — had been arriving at work at Cascade.
After the incident, Frakes said he tried to continue walking the picket line, but started to experience pain and numbness in his lower right leg. He was driven by a fellow striker to the emergency room. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but doctors told him he may have damaged a tendon or his meniscus. He was given anti-inflammatory medication and a leg immobilizer, which he will have to wear five to seven days.
“It’s just really bad timing,” Frakes said. Frakes, 36, says his wife is due to give birth any day to their third child, and he can’t drive with his leg immobilized.
Frakes says he’s disturbed by the incident, and says managers and non-union employees at the mill have been getting more aggressive in recent days. “I watched a guy almost get hit [by a manager’s car] the other day. He came in super fast, and if the guy did not jump out of the way, he would have been hit.”
Cascade Steel Rolling Mills is a subsidiary of Portland-headquartered Schnitzer Steel Industries. ProStar Security did not return a call from the Labor Press as of this article’s publication.