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. It was that evening just before the rejection, a member told me that she’d gotten out of the union because she felt like the union hadn’t been representing the membership in LL708. When contract negotiators began to meet and speak with members and employees about the seriousness of the company’s intentions, she and other previous members and new members began asking to join the IAM. This returned member also told me that “they” hadn’t seen a District “Rep” in the warehouse before. 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! We are here to ensure a fair and balanced workplace it’s that simple! Way to go Local Lodge 708! Thank you for showing us what solidarity will do!
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