Written by Andy Shirtliff
Last fall, in an attempt to strip Montana workers of their salaries, seniority, and health care; 35 union members were locked out of their jobs for 75 days by Imerys Talc, a multinational corporation based out of France.
Now anti-worker/anti-union forces are at it again. One lone state legislator presented HB 323, that only had one lone supporter, wants to strip the rights of 12,000 State of Montana employees to unionize and collectively bargain for the salaries and benefits they’ve earned and rightfully deserve.
I had the opportunity to go to Three Forks a number of times to meet with the workers and their families, who were nearly devastated by the lockout. Newlyweds, soon-to-be retirees, former interns who banked on a job after college, all affected by a company who wanted to slash salaries, shrink benefits, and take away seniority.
Now, State of Montana workers are facing the same threat in the form of a bill by Rep. Brad Tchida; intended to rip away the rights of workers to unionize, collectively bargain, and protect themselves.
Montana Public Employees pay dues to not just belong to a union but to protect union members and non-union members alike. However, this bill is proposing to strip away those rights and protections altogether.
With Montana workers rights being threatened by HB 323, they’ll need our help more than ever! Join me in the fight for Montana and stand with Montana’s working families today.
Contact your legislator on the Business and Labor committee, and tell them to vote NO on HB323 because unions strengthen our middle class.
Link to contact: https://leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/
Andy Shirtliff has served the citizens of Montana for the last 8 years as the Small Business Advocate for Governor Bullock’s Office of Economic Development, in the Montana Department of Commerce and in Governor Schweitzer’s administration. He has extensive experience working with small business owners, economic developers and community leaders to promote entrepreneurship and collaboration.
He helped create a business plan for Montana, and an online tool to streamline the state’s regulatory process. During that time Montana was ranked the #1 State to Start a Business four years in a row, (Kaufmann index.)