Instances of violence at Maremont spark reward

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Loudon County (WVLT) The union's been voted out, but business is anything but normal at Maremont in Loudon County.

Some employees still fear for their safety, concerned about previous threats of violence.

And the company's owner hopes some big bucks will help bring any offenders to justice.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more.

If you read the newspaper today, you couldn't have missed it.

Staring out at you from page A-10, a $25,000 dollar reward posted by plant owner Kenneth Banks, and some strong words.

"We're very confident that those instances are condoned and even supported by the local union."

Maremont owner Ken Banks believes the former union is behind instances of violence to current plant management.

"Our General Manager had his car burned right in his driveway, burned to the ground."

And employees.

Banks continues, "we had a person at home while he was asleep on a Friday night they burned his barn."

More recently, Banks says an employee came home to a vandalized house and feels it was personal.

"They poured bleach on her clothes."

Former machinist union president Dale Smallen says, "I don't know why he would keep accusing us. I don't know why he wants to keep this thing alive."

He says he is unaware of any former union member committing violence.

He says they have moved on.

"We were, what do they call it, decertified as the company's bargaining agent. As far as I know, we've all gone off to try to make a living doing something else."

But Banks feels it is a former member or someone associated with it that is behind the violence and is banking that someone will break ranks for a reward.

"You don't have to worry about any retaliation. We just need to tell the key authorities who it is so we can go investigate that person."

Banks says you can contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation anonymously with information on their tip line, and only you and TBI will know who is providing the information.

Despite the accusations against the union, the former union president wishes Banks and his company well.