Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union leader Buzz Hargrove put thousands of Ontario members "on full alert" yesterday to be ready to bolster picket lines at the strikebound Navistar International Corp.'s plant in Chatham after a security van ran over and critically injured a worker,The Toronto Star reported.
In what The Star said is becoming an explosive labor situation, Hargrove said Navistar has clearly showed it will stop at nothing to use temporary replacement workers, but his union will call on as many members as necessary from other companies to block access to the plant.
Don Milner, a DaimlerChrysler tradesman from Windsor, was in critical condition at London's Health Sciences Center last night after suffering serious injuries when a minivan hit a group of workers on a road leading to the Navistar plant early yesterday morning.
Milner, who was in Chatham to support the striking Navistar workers, suffered a broken arm and pelvis and internal injuries when the minivan hit about a half dozen workers, according to witnesses.
Chatham-Kent police charged Steele Leacock, 21, of London with three counts of dangerous driving. He is an employee of London Protection Inc., which U.S.-based Navistar hired for surveillance work.
Two other workers also suffered injuries including a broken arm, bruises and scrapes.
Navistar spokesperson Roy Wiley, who called the incident "a tragedy," told The Star the van occupants feared for their safety when workers surrounded the vehicle.
More than 600 workers at the Navistar plant are in the fourth week of striking. The company announced last week it would bring in temporary workers so it could continue producing heavy-duty trucks. The company obtained a court order last Friday that limited picketing to 50 workers and prohibited any obstructions.