Local 89 Members Secure Excellent Five-Year Contract After Three Months on Picket Line
(WASHINGTON) – After 12 weeks on the picket line, Teamsters Local 89 members at FireKing in New Albany, Ind., have voted unanimously to ratify a new five-year agreement, successfully ending their strike with a resounding victory. FireKing workers will return to work August 2 after a brief plant shut down to prepare the factory to return to full production for the first time in three months.
Workers voted unanimously to ratify the agreement on July 30. The new contract includes a 22 percent increase in wages over five years, with the first 10 percent immediate upon ratification. Other highlights include lower deductible health insurance that will provide significant savings to members, faster vacation accrual, bonuses for perfect attendance, enhanced seniority and bidding language, and Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
“FireKing Teamsters stood up and fought back for workers’ rights.Throughout the strike, we all stuck together like glue. We are a tight-knit group, and this strike made us even closer and stronger,” said Dale Beanblossom, a 36-year mixer-operator at FireKing and Local 89 member who served as strike captain for the 70-worker unit.
FireKing Teamsters went on strike on May 9, following a unanimous strike authorization vote and rejection of the company’s “last, best and final” offer.
On May 17, Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien and General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman both visited the strike line to stand with members and show their support.
“Let this be a lesson to other employers that the Teamsters will not back down in our members’ fight against corporate greed. We will not stop fighting and we will not break,” O’Brien said. “The International stands behind its members. When workers decide to strike, they will have the full backing of 1.2 million members behind them.”
“Local 89 members knew they had the support of the entire Teamsters Union,” said Zuckerman, who served as President of Local 89 for more than 20 years. “I’ve known this unit for years. They are a strong and dedicated group, and we wanted to let them know that they had every tool and resource at their disposal.”
Teamsters International Vice President and Local 89 President Avral Thompson noted that the company struggled with the loss of their experienced and skilled workforce after workers went on strike and immediately brought in scab labor.
“The company released numerous press statements insisting all was well, but the plant was running far below 50 percent production. Management was constantly dealing with a revolving door of scab temporary employees who quit almost as quickly as they were brought in,” Thompson said. “In the end, our members showed this company their true value and worth. These folks stood together, said ‘enough is enough’ and showed their employer what real union power looks like. This victory is a testament to our members that they were able to endure all of this and still come out as winners.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.