Police are investigating an attack on a local labor leader last week outside the union hall.
Marty St. Peters, the business representative with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 9, was struck several times by one or more unknown assailants as he was leaving the Machinists hall about 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25. The attack came one week after union members voted down contract concessions with the company.
A report from the East Alton Police Department said St. Peters had left the Machinists hall, 161 N. Shamrock Ave., and was walking toward his vehicle on the south side of the building when he was attacked. St. Peters told police that as soon as he left the building, he turned right and “the next thing he knew, he was punched in the face a couple of times.”
The report states that after being struck, St. Peters fell to the ground, and the assailant or assailants may have kicked him in the ribs. He told police that his left side was sore and hurt.
St. Peters told police that by the time he was able to get on his feet again, his attackers had run away, and he was unable to get a good look at them.
Police urged St. Peters to seek medical attention; however, he refused. St. Peters had a visible black eye when he and Tony Rippeto, directing business representative for IAMAW District 9, met with The Telegraph on Thursday; however, he did not state how he got it.
St. Peters did not return calls to The Telegraph on Monday.
Police Chief Dwynn Isringhausen said St. Peters was asked whether there had been any recent problems with anyone that would have spurred the attack.
“He told us that he has received threats almost daily since he has been involved in negotiations with Olin and employees,” Isringhausen said.
Isringhausen said that St. Peters told officers he didn’t know where some of the threats came from.
“He told us that many are generated over the phone with an ‘unknown’ or ‘restricted’ number,” the police chief said.
St. Peters told police that he had not taken the threats very seriously, because it comes with the job.
Isringhausen said there is a concern for safety because of the escalating tension among union leaders, union members and the company.
Union members are voting for second time today on a plan to retain jobs. Throughout the day, members will meet at Julia’s Banquet Center in East Alton to cast their ballot on whether they want to accept the company’s offer of wage freezes and other concessions in an effort to keep the plant in the community for the next seven years.
“There are a lot of people who are upset about their jobs and how this decision will impact their future,” Isringhausen said. “However, there is no justification in attacking someone that you don’t feel is representing your membership.”
He said there would be an increase in security throughout the day.
The case remains under investigation. Isringhausen said he believes that there was more than one person who attacked St. Peters.