|A Georgia man slated to become a temporary worker for Frontier Communications during the ongoing workers strike allegedly pulled a gun on a picketing employee in Braxton County, according to an incident report filed with West Virginia State Police.|
Ato Oronde Clark, 44, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, allegedly brandished a pistol and said “Don’t mess with me” to a Frontier picketer Tuesday afternoon on Days Drive near Flatwoods, according to the report.
The incident occurred after the picketer yelled “You’re taking our jobs” at Clark and flipped, the report said.
The picketer reported the incident to the State Police.
Clark was arrested and charged with one count of brandishing a weapon and will be taken to Central Regional Jail to await arraignment, the report said.
Frontier spokesman Andy Malinoski said Clark “was not doing work for [Frontier] yet,” adding that the contractor Clark was with has terminated its relationship with him.
Communications Workers of America Local 142 sent out a news release referencing the incident, asking Frontier customers “to use caution” as the company tries to fill out its ranks while union members continue their strike.
Frontier has begun hiring out-of-state workers to maintain its operations as roughly 1,400 employees are striking, according to CWA. The strike began Sunday after union leaders and the company failed to reach a contract agreement.
Frontier has said its strike contingency plan will include management members, outside contractors and representatives from other organizations repairing equipment and responding to service calls to minimize customer service disruption.
The union says it wants more job security in its next contract. It argues that Frontier hasn’t done enough to invest in and upgrade West Virginia’s network and that it continues to cut middle-class jobs.