Locked Out Workers--A Sign of Increased Employer Militancy
Updated On: Feb 22, 2012
Locked Out Workers-- A Sign of Increased Employer Militancy !!
Locked-Out Workers to Embark on Journey for Justice
Amy Masciola, a union campaign consultant, sends us this.
More than six months ago, American Crystal Sugar Co. locked out more than 1,300 sugar beet workers in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. Two months ago, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. locked out more than 1,000 workers in Findlay, Ohio. Last week, Caterpillar announced it would shut down a plant in Ontario, just over one month after locking out 500 workers. Rio Tinto Alcan locked out 750 workers in Quebec Jan. 1. HealthBridge locked out 800 nursing home workers in Connecticut in December. As Laura Clawson at the Daily Kos notes, “For evidence of a war on workers, look no further than the rise of the lockout.”
Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times wrote recently that the number of strikes has dropped precipitously in the past two decades, while lockouts now “represent a record percentage of the nation’s work stoppages.” Greenhouse quotes professor Gary Chaison of Clark University, who says:
This is a sign of increased employer militancy. Lockouts were once so rare they were almost unheard of. Now, not only are employers increasingly on the offensive and trying to call the shots in bargaining, but they’re backing that up with action—in the form of lockouts.
Unions and our allies are fighting back against this war on workers. Beginning Feb. 22, locked-out workers from American Crystal Sugar Co. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will start a 1,000-mile journey across America’s heartland. They will visit six states in six days, taking part in rallies, fundraisers and other actions with local union members and allies. Locked-out workers will take their message to supporters—and call out the perpetrators of the war on workers.
From Fargo to Findlay: A Journey for Justice is a joint project of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and the United Steelworkers (USW).
The Journey will begin with a rally in Fargo, N.D., and will make stops in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, before concluding in Findlay, Ohio. For workers making the Journey, the message is simple: They want to keep their union, and they want to go back to work.
As Paul Woinarowicz, a BCTGM member who has worked for Crystal Sugar for 34 years, told Greenhouse, the lockout was:
just another way of trying to break the union….It was just like a knife stuck in your heart.