Non-Union Worker Flips Truck Of Flammable Materials While Making ‘Threatening Gesture’ To Striking Workers

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Distillery Union Strike

Strikes are taking place all across the country as workers and employers find themselves unable to reach agreements and Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky is no different. 

Members of the UFCW Local 23D have been on strike since last month over a contract dispute. Heaven Hill Distillery has since brought in non-union workers to fill in the gap.

As it would turn out, Heaven Hill Distillery may have been better off making a deal with the union since an incident that took place last week cost them a truck and nearly people their lives.

A non-union worker reportedly flipped on of Heaven Hill Distillery's trucks.

In a press release, the union reports that a non-union worker brought in by the distillery was driving a truck loaded with “flammable cargo”.

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While driving by one of the members of the union who was on strike, the non-union worker “took their hands off the steering wheel to make a threatening gesture” toward the striking worker.

UFCW Local 23D President Matt Aubrey stated that the non-union worker then lost control of the vehicle and flipped it.

The accident endangered the lives of the driver and nearby striking workers.

As comical as it may be that the accident occurred directly as a result of the “gesture” the situation was surely nothing short of terrifying to the strikers and driver alike.

It’s unclear exactly what cargo the truck was carrying but the fact that it was flammable could have spelled disaster for both the striking workers and the driver.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the incident, but Matt Aubrey is taking this moment as a chance to highlight Heaven Hill Distillery’s shortcomings in providing for the health and safety of its workers, “Heaven Hill is putting profits over the health and safety of its workers and the Bardstown community and today’s dangerous tanker truck incident is sadly just the latest example. Heaven Hill also cut the healthcare of its workers and retirees immediately after they spoke out for a stronger contract and went on strike this past month.”

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Regardless of whether Heaven Hill Distillery or UFCW Local 23D is in the right, this is a really bad look for the distillery.

The accident at Heaven Hill Distillery is not an outlier as strikes ramp up across the country.

After 10,000 John Deere employees went on strike over a similar contract dispute, the company sought to fill the gap with non-union employees in an attempt to minimize any interruption in operations.

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Unfortunately for John Deere, it turns out that the non-union temporary workers that they hired may not be best suited to working with John Deere’s heavy equipment.

Almost immediately after the temporary workers were brought in, there was an incident where a tractor was driven into a utility pole causing some damage.

With strikes taking place all across the country, it’s very likely that we will continue to see stories like this one as unionized workers take a unified stand and companies scramble to fill in the gaps in labor.

As funny as these situations are, they are also extremely dangerous when they involve trucks, cargo and heavy machinery. Hopefully, any further slip-ups by non-union fill-in workers will continue to air toward the side of comedy rather than tragedy.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.