Belshaw brings in scabs; strikers get international solidarity

The following is from the International Association of Machinists District Lodge 160:

AUBURN, Wash. (June 5, 2013) — Since March 24, members of IAM Local Lodge 79 have been out on strike at Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group in Auburn.

The issues initially revolved around wages, health & welfare, and pension. The union had put a proposal on the table that would have saved the company more than $20,000 per month in health and welfare costs, asking only that some of those savings be passed along to the membership in the form of a wage increase.  The company balked at the proposal.

But now, an over-arching issue has now emerged — the company has announced that they have hired permanent replacement workers, a move that resulted in the unanimous rejection of the company’s latest contract proposal on May 10.  This escalation of offense by the company has only strengthened the resolve of the membership on the picket line.

Formerly part of the Aga Rangemaster Group, Belshaw Bros. was acquired by Italian conglomerate Ali SpA in 2007. That global connection is what moved the Trade and Globalization Department of the IAM to request support from Geneva, Switzerland-based IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors. The IAM is an affiliate of the organization. The eyes of workers around the world have now focused on the intransigence of a seemingly small company in Auburn.

TAKE A STAND! — IndustriALL has posted a web form where workers and supporters can weigh in with expressions of solidarity with our members at IAM Local 79. Please take a minute to visit the site and send your message of support.

You can also follow developments in the strike here.

ALSO at AFL-CIO Now — Belshaw factory workers stand strong after rejecting unfair contract (June 4) — “Belshaw President Mr. Faw, through his labor negotiator, notified the union and its bargaining committee that it has replaced about 60% of the strikers and will continue to replace the remaining unless they accept the Last Best and Final document that was offered during mediation. That document was voted down unanimously along with the message, ‘We will not go back with less than we went out with.’ “

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