In their efforts to get a fair and decent contract Garnett/Jobbers IAM Members went out on an “Unfair Labor Practice” strike August 17, 2018. After a tough 3 weeks pounding the pavement in all climates of weather and federal mediation brought in to assist in the negotiating process. On September 7, 2018 the members of LL708 voted 100% to ratify a new contract with improved safety, bereavement, and progression steps in wage attainment (and more). It wasn’t that they were asking for a silver platter – they just didn’t want to eat off the floor anymore! The new agreement is a step in the right direction when it was made clear the company was not interested in negotiating anything with the IAM. The company hired an anti-union attorney to negotiate the contract for them which lead to multiple Labor Board charges when they failed to bargain in good faith.
The contract expired July 31, 2018 and was extended 30 days in order to investigate claims by the company of financial distress. In the end, Lead Negotiator and Business Representative Tyson Kelly of District Lodge 70 with the Local Lodge Negotiating Committee brought the membership up to 60% from 28% before the membership voted to reject the company’s last best, final offer on Thursday, August 16, 2018.
On the evening of the rejection, just before the vote, a newly signed member told me that she’d gotten out of the union some time back because she felt like the union hadn’t been representing the membership in LL708. When Tyson and the Negotiating Committee began to meet and speak with members and employees about the seriousness of the company’s intentions, the new member and other previous members as well as other employee’s began joining the IAM. This returned member also told me that she see from the action and involvement that the union had their back. I was apathetic and explained, that having the confidence in someone having your back when you need it means everything!
The impression made on members, non-members and other union members in this community should be one of encouragement. Labor won’t be pushed around and squashed!
The IAM is here to help workers ensure a fair and balanced workplace. If members are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it, together we have the power! It’s that simple!
Hat’s off to you Local Lodge 708! Thank you for reminding us of what solidarity can do!