MARYLAND

Striking Potomac Disposal worker hit by truck

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) - A striking Potomac Disposal trash collector was struck by a truck being driven by a temporary worker early Wednesday morning.

Striking workers were met with this letter from Potomac Disposal on Wednesday morning.

The victim, 34-year-old Arnulfo Carranza of Gaithersburg, was taken by ambulance to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was released Wednesday afternoon and is home recuperating.

Witnesses say that after Carranza was struck to the ground, picketers then stopped the truck driver and physically assaulted him.

A Montgomery County police spokesperson said the driver was on his way to begin the truck's daily runs when he failed to control his speed to the point where he could not navigate a turn out of the facility.

The truck went up onto the curb, where it struck a protestor who was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

After two days of picketing, the union says it sent Potomac Disposal a letter on Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to return to work today on Wednesday. A union representative told ABC7 they feel they delivered their message about fair wages and treatment.

But management denied that request, locking the gates to the facility and posting a note on the company’s front door on Wednesday morning that told workers to go home.

So workers went to the Montgomery County Council, sharing their plight with members like Valerie Ervin, a former union organizer who says Potomac Disposal has violated federal law and possibly county procurement laws as well.

"We're not going to put up with it, and I think the administration needs to step up and let us know what they're going to do about it," she said.

The county says that despite the strike, trash service has been unaffected – thanks to temporary workers putting in double shifts.

Back on the picket lines, Montgomery County Police ticketed the garbage truck driver for failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision as paramedics took his co-worker to the hospital.

A union spokesperson said in a statement that they anticipate service disruptions in several portions of Montgomery County due to the ongoing labor conflict.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the striking Potomac Disposal workers will return to work Thursday. 

In response to the situation, Potomac Disposal has released the following statement:

Potomac Disposal understands that during a Union protest this morning a striking employee sustained minor injuries while attempting to block the path of trucks exiting the facility. While the Company regrets that anyone was injured, Potomac Disposal is happy to learn that the injuries were not significant and that the trucks were able to leave the facility and provide service to our customers.

Potomac Disposal has accepted the Union’s request to return to work, and anticipates that all drivers and helpers will return to their normal routes tomorrow morning.

The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services advises residents in the affected areas of the strike to put out their trash and recyclables by 7 a.m. on Thursday morning.

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