By SHERI GASSAWAY
Teamsters Local 618 members back on the job at the Valvoline plant after an eight-week strike are returning the support they received from fellow union members by donating the remaining funds in their strike fund to the St. Louis Labor Council’s $5 for the Fight fund.
The 22 workers, employed as drivers, material handlers, packers, warehouse leads and blenders, went on strike March 1 over a new three-year contract requiring out-of-pocket healthcare deductibles as high as $7,000 and a threat to take away their pensions.
Members ratified a new agreement April 23. Afterward, Local 618 members thanked Labor, elected officials and the general public for their support, which included walking the picket line, donating time, money, food and drink and providing camaraderie.
Kevin FitzGerald, a retired Insulator’s Local 1 member who serves on the Missouri Jobs with Justice Executive Board, was one of the those who joined Local 618 members on the strike line on a regular basis.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Two weeks after the strike, Local 618 members contacted FitzGerald about donating what remained in their strike fund – $500 – to help other workers. FitzGerald suggested the $5 for the Fight fund, which helps union members in need, and dropped off the donation on behalf of the 22 Local 618 members to the Labor Council May 13.
“This is solidarity and strength through Brotherhood and Sisterhood,” FitzGerald said of the donation. “This Fight fund provides financial assistance for union families facing unexpected expenses due to injury, job loss, changing life circumstances, medical emergencies or other unexpected changes.”
Labor Council President Pat White said he was grateful for the donation.
“It’s amazing how union brothers and sisters – even when they’re in need – are generous enough to help other union brothers and sisters in need,” he said. “It’s a true testament to the Brotherhood and Sisterhood.”
DONATE TO THE FIGHT FUND
Donations to the $5 for the Fight Fund can be made by check or online. One hundred percent of each donation goes directly to the Fund. You can donate in these ways:
- Mail a check or money order to “$5 for the Fight, c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044; please include your union. affiliation.
- Online – Visit labortribune.com/5-for-the-fight to make a secure one-time donation or an “automatic monthly deduction.”
- Schnucks eScrip program – This is “free money,” as Schnucks donates a percentage of your purchase to the Fight Fund. It doesn’t cost you a thing. You can pick up an eScrip card at your local Schnucks store.
Efforts to promote and service the Fight Fund are donated by the Labor Council, United Way and the Labor Tribune.