Picket-line dispute ends in hammer attack

A clean record, and the way firm handled other strike-related violence, works in employee’s favour — but he’s not allowed to do it again
By Lorna Harris
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/06/2005

When he got into an altercation with a tow truck operator, Robert MacDonald, a cable repair technician at Aliant Telecom with 17 years’ service, was walking the picket line in Sydney, N.S., about two months into a strike. Tow truck operator Robby Reid, hired as a contractor for Aliant, had wanted to cross the picket line to get a boom truck from company premises so he could take it to his shop for repair.

The strikers, including MacDonald’s wife, who also worked for Aliant, prevented him from doing so. Harsh words were spoken. MacDonald threatened to kill Reid if he crossed the line. On the way out of the parking lot, Reid’s tow truck bumped into MacDonald.

A short while later, MacDonald turned up at Reid’s place of business, still wearing his picket sign, a hammer concealed up his sleeve.