Local 117 Teamsters, employed at Davis Wire, are in the fight of their lives. At this dangerous wiremill, workers are being pressured to work 12-hour shifts without a break, for dozens of days in a row.
There have been serious accidents at the company: Workers have suffered lost fingers, wire punctures, crushed bones, and deaths.
Despite the dangerous working environment, Davis Wire has proposed steep increases in the amount workers pay for their health care. Company managers strongly discourage workers from taking their legal breaks.
There is no break room at the facility to speak of, only a cramped hallway, where workers sit on the grimy floor to eat their lunch. More often than not, workers eat lunch at their machines, with dangerous equipment running.
On February 29, the workers voted 55-1 to authorize a strike. Workers have been without a contract since December 1 of last year.
On Friday, March 16, Local 117 staff converged on the company's facility in Kent, and pulled workers off the floor so that they could take their statutorily permitted 10-minute break. Workers swarmed the break room in a united show of union solidarity and power.
"We stand together. You can see everybody pulling together today, taking a break with their Union," said Shop Steward Robert Bruner, a machine operator at the company.
Your Local Union was in federal mediation with the company on March 19. The company was not willing to negotiate a fair contract for its employees at that meeting.
If the company continues to insist on substandard proposals, we will be calling on all members of Local 117 to stand in solidarity with their Brothers and Sisters at Davis Wire. Talk to your Business Representative if you are available to help.