16 Striking Drywall Workers Arrested : Labor: Seventy-five sheriff's deputies sent to a Palmdale construction site break up a demonstration of about 50 protesters.


Striking drywall workers brought their nearly four-month-long protest to Palmdale on Tuesday, resulting in 16 arrests after workers were attacked and homes under construction vandalized, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Damage was minimal and there were no injuries in the incidents, which began about 8:30 a.m. at 30th Street West and Avenue N, and 30th Street West and Avenue O-8, said Deputy Irma Becerra. About 50 strikers were involved.

About 75 deputies from several sheriff's stations were sent to the scene and broke up the demonstration at noon, Becerra said.

Sixteen strikers were arrested on suspicion of vandalism, and one man was also held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly attacking a construction worker with a hammer at the 30th Street West and Avenue N site, Becerra said.

Some of the protesters gathered again later in the day at nearby sites at Highland Street and Avenue R-8 and at 45th Street East near Avenue O-8. Deputies were sent to the scene and again broke up the gathering of about 30 to 40 men. No one was arrested or injured at the second demonstration.

About 1,000 drywallers and tapers in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties have been on strike, demanding local union representation and higher pay. Drywall work in the area is being done by non-union laborers and workers represented by a union based in Northern California, industry sources say.

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