Maremont President: Strikers Causing "Epidemic of Violence

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Loudon, Loudon County (WVLT) - Federal mediators will be in Loudon County tomorrow to try to settle the strike at Maremont.

It's been five months since workers there walked off the job.

Monday owner, Kenneth Banks sent us a news release saying the plant has come under, what he calls an "epidemic of violence", but the union says those accusations are false.

Volunteer TV’s Mike McCarthy investigates.

"It seems to be we have a lot of people that think it's ok to act like a terrorists,” and Maremont plant owner Kenneth Banks says he knows exactly who those people are. "There's no question it's the people who are ex-employees here that have been on strike."

"Those are wild accusations with no proof behind them whatsoever,” says union spokesman Bob Wood.

Workers with the 2545 Machinist Union in Loudon set-up their picket line in February, that's after contract negotiations failed.

"We've stood up for what we believe in. That's what's important,” Wood says.

But Banks says the strikers have unleashed an "epidemic of violence" against the plant and current workers. "They're just trying to terrorize us into giving into what they would like us to do."

He says that includes: a bomb threat, shooting into employee homes and car fires.

Banks says the attacks started here in the parking lot since day one of the strike. But once the plant got more security, the attacks moved beyond the fence. "Wherever our employees are, wherever they live."

He says that's Loudon, Knox, McMinn, Monroe, and Roane Counties.

"He has no proof at all for anything. He's just making accusations,” Wood says.

"I don't know how many police reports we have. It would be over 50,” says Banks. “And we have probably more than 200 incidents."

Loudon Police have arrested two strikers since the walk-out, both at the plant.

The first for reckless endangerment, but those charges were dropped. The second was for possession of a weapon with intent to go armed, but neither are tied to any of what the police call "vandalism."

The union's keeping an open mind.

"Let's look at negotiations rather than these accusations,” Wood says.

Tuesday, the next round of those negotiations begin.

Both sides will meet with the federal mediator Tuesday afternoon.

Banks says he's filed racketeering charges against the union with the National Labor Relations Board.

The legal hearing's scheduled to begin at the end of the month.

The plant has replaced the more than 250 strikers.


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  • by I hate Socialism Location: Loudon on Jul 30, 2007 at 12:19 PM
    I hope none of you idiots on strike never set foot in this building again. I know most of you know who is attacking people. Its just a job its not worth hurting people over. Rednecks. Now that your fearless leader Dale is leaving what are you going to do? Have Colvard lead you, hahahahah. He can't even pull up his pants.
  • by margaret Location: loudon on Jul 20, 2007 at 11:57 AM
    Banks is a disgrace , after all Tennessee did for Texas ,if this is the best they can do they can keep him.
  • by ON THE OUTSIDE Location: Looking In on Jul 18, 2007 at 03:35 PM
    Loudon, Loudon County (WVLT) - Federal mediators will be in Loudon County tomorrow to try to settle the strike at Maremont. It's been five months since workers there walked off the job. Monday owner, Kenneth Banks sent us a news release saying the plant has come under, what he calls an "epidemic of violence", but the union says those accusations are false. ************************** It appears that the federal mediator was already scheduled for negotiations before Mr. Banks notified volunteer news about the so called violence 1 day before negotistions. When you read the story he is accusing the strikers for everything. Where is his proof? If he had any would'nt someone be in jail? Is he negotiating in good faith or just blowing smoke out his exhaust system?
  • by Jody Location: Knoxville on Jul 17, 2007 at 01:40 PM
    Mr. Banks needs to look at the type of people he is employing instead of making generalizations about the people in the surrounding counties. He also needs to revisit the main reason his company is even in this part of the country, the hard working people, who for years, have been willing to work for lower wages.
  • by susan Location: knoxville on Jul 17, 2007 at 08:30 AM
    If Mr. Banks wasn't so greedy, he would quit making these kinds of comments. These people have made this company and he just has the money to buy it and try to make it something it is not. He is doing exactly what most rich business men have done lately, looking at how can I get richer. These people have worked hard at this place and went out on strike because greedy Mr. Banks did not want to pay for their health insurance. Well, Mr. Banks found a quick solution to this little problem. Everyday he trucks in illegal Mexican workers to the plant to do the job. He pays them 5 or 6 dollars a hour and no benefits. When these workers get sick they simply go to the emergency room and yes we taxpayers pay for it, not Mr. Banks. These people have worked hard to make Maremont a reputable name. Now, Mr. Banks wants to kick them to the curb. If the American worker does not stand up for their rights, we will all be replaced by these illegal workers. The new state law that was passed should apply to Mr. Banks, they should pull his business license for hiring these illegals. I encourage everyone---do not buy Maremont products! Let's let Mr. Greedy get his due!

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