KEENE, N.H. — Three striking FairPoint workers suffered minor injuries when they were struck Tuesday by a replacement worker who was driving a pickup truck across a picket line.
None of the strikers suffered serious injuries, but one of them was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, according to union officials.
The three workers, who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, were struck about 3 p.m., according to a statement issued Tuesday evening by New Hampshire IBEW Local 2320 Business Manager Glenn Brackett.
“Today’s near tragedy in Keene shows just how reckless FairPoint has become,” Brackett said. “It’s outrageous that they’d hire people who would hit workers standing up for their families and the customers we serve.
“FairPoint is hiring clearly unqualified contractors, and we have no idea if these people have had proper background checks. And that’s not just a concern to us. It’s a serious concern to the public,” Brackett said, adding, “FairPoint is telling the public to let these people into their homes. But we don’t know who they are or whether they can safely serve the people of New England.”
A FairPoint spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
A post on the Fairness at FairPoint Facebook page further said the workers were picketing at the FairPoint garage in Keene when the replacement worker first crossed the line without incident in a red pickup truck.
“But then he abruptly did a U-turn and tried to pull back out of the lot while our strikers were lawfully picketing,” the post said. “The replacement worker drove into our strikers pushing one up on the hood, hitting one with his mirror, and another with his bumper.”
Immediately after the incident, the replacement worker pulled his truck to the curb, fixed his mirror and waited for FairPoint’s security guards to come out and meet him, the post continued.
“Our members called police to report the incident. But before police arrived, the replacement worker left the scene,” the post read. “We believe police did later follow and stop the replacement worker. The police have been responsive and have begun what we believe will be a thorough investigation.”