workers go on strike at Pacific Steel
Demonstrators backed off after Berkeley police pushed them away from trying to block a gate. Peter Jon Shuler/KQED

Our reporter Peter Jon Shuler was on scene at Pacific Steel in Berkeley Tuesday, where he says protests briefly flared and turned violent.

Hundreds of workers picketed the plant today. They went on strike yesterday over having to pay more of their health benefits, which they say amounts to about a 10 percent pay cut. Representatives from Pacific Steel Management say they won’t comment outside the negotiations.

Peter Jon Shuler was outside the gates this afternoon when police in riot gear appeared. Picketers were trying to block the gates to stop a delivery, and police proceeded to form a line to push the protesters back and clear the gate. He says almost instantly, the scene turned violent, with officers hitting some protesters with batons, including a pregnant woman.  Paramedics took her to the hospital but she didn’t appear to have serious injuries.

After a chaotic scene, Shuler says demonstrators backed off. Police remain on the scene.

Peter is back in the newsroom now, working on his radio story to air this afternoon on KQED News. If you miss it live on KQED Radio, you can hear find it in our audio archive.

Demonstration at Pacific Steel Briefly Turns Violent 23 March,2011Kelly Wilkinson


Kelly Wilkinson

Kelly Wilkinson is a radio journalist living in San Francisco. You can hear her reporting frequently on KQED FM and The California Report. In addition to covering California and Bay Area news, Kelly writes the (mostly) crafty blog Make Grow Gather. There she chronicles her love of making things like lemon curd from foraged fruit, spray-painted lampshades and cut felt placemats. The projects she creates are regularly picked up by national websites and magazines. Kelly grew up in a renovated barn in Virginia and is constantly trying to bring a little bit of her rural upbringing to her now-urban life. By day, she catches the N-Judah out the front door. By weekend, she tends bees and grows vegetables in the backyard.

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