The PG&E strike began to try linemen’s patience. They were used to traveling for work. One strike leader reported that “it takes quite a bit of talking to keep them from leaving and going somewhere else.”
The strikers’ impatience showed up in other ways. The June 15 field report from a Sacramento strike leader began this way:
“Hammonten line burnt down… Yuba County transformers burnt out night before last. Sutter County transformers out… One man Frank Berlin, arrested at Marysville, a suspect for burning down high power line.”
A strike leader in San Jose reported that strikers had kept within the law but that it was “hard to say” how long this would continue.
PG&E was well-equipped to prevail in most physical confrontations. Strikers complained about the “horde of gunmen and thugs” that PG&E had imported and “left to their own pleasure in darkened streets…” Strikers said they should be able to picket “without being shot at, cut or beaten up.”
On the other hand, some strikers gave as good as they got. From Sacramento a strike leader reported:
“One scab at Davis named Starmer had an argument with one of our men named Hellar; Hellar broke Starmer’s jaw in three places, and Starmer laid for Hellar with a piece of Gas pipe, and got stabbed for his pains.”
Some strikers and sympathizers were caught sabotaging PG&E assets. In Sutter County two strikers were arrested after short-circuiting a 60kv line that affected communities as far away as Watsonville and Fresno.