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LOCKED OUT! Workers and Montana Leaders Unite: Imerys Feels the Heat from Montanans

Written by Nathan Kosted
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The locked out workers at the Imerys Talc plant in Three Forks have been on the picket line since they were locked out of their jobs on August 2nd. 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 23 straight days. They are at every shift change at 7 am and 7 pm, they hold vigil throughout the night and stand in the 100 degree August heat during the day. They are going to keep the picket line in place until they receive the benefits they have earned.

“We’re gonna fight these guys till we win this.”

Randy Tocci, president of Boilermakers Union Local D-239

These workers have given Imerys, a French-owned corporation, the best years of their lives and now the company is trying to cut benefits and create contractual backdoors to screw these union workers over.

From the Montana Standard:

The company has proposed phasing out the retiree health care plan and freezing pension benefits.

The scabs started rolling in soon after, it has mostly been out-of-state workers that Imerys is shipping in like mercenaries to harm the amazing community of Three Forks that stands in unity with the locked out workers, as does all of Montana, Democrats and Republicans alike. This is not a political issue, this an issue of Montanans standing together for what is right.

The eyes of the nation and around the world have turned to this sleepy hamlet in southwestern Montana and everyone supports the locked out workers. This is only the beginning. We will never back down and Montana workers will continue to fight for what is right.

The Montana AFL-CIO has been on the picket line with Imerys since day 1 and wrote a very good piece on 6 ways you can help these locked out workers.

HERE ARE 6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP THE IMERYS WORKERS

You can donate to the GoFundMe account that is helping these locked out workers as they are without pay and lose their healthcare benefits on September 1st.

Donate to the locked out workers here

We here at The Montana Post have stood with the locked out workers since the beginning.

Josh Manning wrote: We Don’t Cross Picket Lines, We Reinforce Them

One of the battles in the war is playing out in Three Forks right now. Workers from the Imerys Talc America plant have been locked out of the job after corporate masters in Europe and the U.S. demanded they sacrifice pension and medical benefits. Remember the days when a life spent toiling in the factories meant you could live the rest of your life able to live in relative comfort and afford the medical bills required to take care of the injuries you sustained for that work? I do too. It was a glorious time in America and when it is gone we miss all of the things we are taking for granted.

I Stand with Three Forks – Andy Shirtliff

Candidate for Public Service Commission, Andy Shirtliff, has been to Three Forks several times. He delivered the stories of the workers after his first visit:

These men and women are choosing to stand up for what is rightfully theirs, and refuse to accept an offer that is almost as criminal as it is insulting. Their jobs and the benefits they’ve earned through years of hard work are being taken from them by a faceless corporation on the other side of the Atlantic, who refuses to listen.

Like the newlyweds who were married just three weeks ago. They are lucky enough to have a second income to tide them over until this situation gets resolved, but one of them may be forced to find another job.

They relied on this job to build a family together, but this company chose profits over people.

Or the man who is worried that he won’t be able to find another job, that, “No one wants a broken down old man, it’s sad but true.” Another man who worked at the plant for over thirty years, who planned out his retirement, but due to this incident will have to wait another ten years before he can leave. These workers rely on these jobs for their livelihoods and security in their retirement.

This corporation chose to line their own pockets, on the backs of these workers.

And delivered a rousing speech on his second visit:

Governor Bullock Joins the Picket Line in Three Forks – Sen. Tester: “Folks in Three Forks deserve fair wages and benefits…Imerys needs to unlock its doors.”

Governor Bullock and LT. Governor Cooney have traveled to Three Forks and demanded that Imerys put these Montanans back to work with the benefits they have earned.

Butte, Montana is the Gibraltar of unionism in America and Montanans like Steve Bullock and Jon Tester have always stood with unions, fighting foreign mega-corporations that try to steal the best of Montana without giving back. Montanans know the lessons of union busting. Frank Little died at the hand of scabs in Butte and we will not stand for this behavior from companies that want to do business in Montana.

Don Pogreba wrote: Help Support Workers Locked Out of their Jobs in Three Forks

While the plant generates a profit of $1,000,000 a month, the corporation believes workers should lose retiree health insurance, overtime protections, and the pension plans that secure their future after retirement.

As the workers and their families picket and fight for their rights, it’s important to let them know we’ve got their backs.

One easy way to help support the workers and their families is to donate a few bucks to the GoFundMe account set up to support the Boilermakers Union Local 239 and their families.

Don Pogreba also wrote: Rally to Support Three Forks Workers Tomorrow!

Join Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney and the locked-out union workers in Three Forks.

Republican Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has spoken out in support of the workers as have other Montana elected officials, even Republicans! READ: http://www.mtpr.org/post/montana-politicians-rally-behind-locked-out-mill-workers

 

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we\'d certainly appreciate it.