By CARL GREEN
American Income Life buying turkeys for union members’ families
Collinsville IL – Fifty-two members of Machinists District 9 Local 313 remained on strike for a third week last week against Laura Buick-GMC, which is trying to replace their pension plan with a 401K plan in contract talks.
“Morale is unbelievably high on the line, as it is from everybody else who has stopped by,” Business Rep. Roy Collins told the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor last week. “The support from the community and Labor has been huge, and I want to thank everybody for that.”
Since the strike began, the negotiators had met only once through last week. “After four hours of negotiations, they offered us the same thing that was voted down 100 percent,” Collins said.
Another negotiating meeting was scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25 but the company postponed it to Wednesday – the night before Thanksgiving.
Collins expressed appreciation for four members of Teamsters Local 50 who work at Laura and have been honoring the picket line on Illinois 157. They handle parts and car cleanup.
“As soon as we walked out, they set their things down and walked out with us,” Collins said. “I’m extremely thankful for their help and their support. They’ve actually come out and walked the picket line.”
He also thanked American Income Life, the union-supporting insurance company, which is buying turkeys for each of the members on strike, including the Teamsters. Others donated the fixings so all of the families can have holiday dinners.
United Auto Workers Local 2250, just off their own strike against General Motors, also helped, passing a hat and raising $1,500 that was going to the Machinist members.
“We’ve had people call from literally all over the country,” Collins said. “If we can pull off a win here, everybody is going to think twice before they propose taking away a pension plan.”