Labor News From Our Region
Auto shop owner’s kindness to striking workers builds union solidarity, strengthens sense of community
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Ferguson, MO – When SEIU Healthcare members at Christian Care Home in Ferguson went on strike in December, the owner of Boyd’s Automotive welcomed striking workers to his shop to warm up and to use the restrooms.
Nathan Boyd has kept his doors open to the union workers throughout the duration of the strike, which is still going on. His shop is directly across the street from the skilled nursing facility. He even unlocks the restrooms on the weekends when the business is closed.
THE RIGHT THING TO DO
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Boyd said of the gesture.
Last month, Glaziers Local 513 retiree Brian Stiens joined striking workers to show solidarity in their important fight against the company’s unfair labor practices and unjust contract offer.
That’s when Stiens, who now works as an estimator/project manager for Local 513 contractor Glass Concepts, learned about Boyd’s act of kindness during the strike. He also noticed the shop’s front door was boarded up and immediately took action.
HUMBLED BY THE GESTURE
“Brian called me and said, ‘It’s really great what you are doing for the strikers across the street, and I would like to help you out by replacing the glass for free,’” Boyd explained. “I was completely humbled by his gesture because after all, I was really just doing what I thought was right.”
Boyd said the shop was broken into a couple years ago and that the company didn’t replace the glass out of fear that it would just happen again. He said Stiens told him that the new glass would greatly improve the look of the storefront.
Johnny Russo, owner of Glass Concepts, supplied the materials for the project, and Russo and Stiens installed the glass and protective strips. While they were working, Russo mentioned to Boyd that his work truck was getting old and the heat didn’t work.
“Nathan popped the hood, flushed the heater core and got the heat working,” Russo said. “I tried to offer him money for it, but he wouldn’t take a dime. It goes to show you that when you do something nice, it comes back tenfold.”
Kevin FitzGerald, a retired member of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1, has been standing with workers on the strike line for months.
“A number of us have chosen to use Boyd’s automotive services during this strike to show solidarity and gratitude,” he said.
BUILDING COMMUNITY, FRIENDSHIPS
FitzGerald commended Boyd, Stiens and Russo on his Facebook page and encouraged others to patronize Boyd’s Automotive for any mechanical/service needs.
“This is how we build community!” FitzGerald wrote. “This is how we build friendships! Thank you for showing all of us how this is done.”
ABOUT BOYD’S AUTOMOTIVE
Boyd’s Automotive, a family-owned business founded in 1978, is located at 707 Chambers Road in Ferguson. The phone number is 314-524-3332.