UTU locals and state legislative boards in Minnesota and North Dakota are collecting non-perishable foods to aid union brothers and sisters who have been locked out of their jobs in six states by American Crystal Sugar (Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International) and Cooper Tire & Rubber (United Steel Workers).
This Journey for Justice, which involves other labor organizations, follows a December holiday toy drive benefitting children of the locked-out workers.
Beginning with a solidarity rally in Fargo Feb. 22, the Journey for Justice will make stops in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio.
Cooper Tire & Rubber locked out more than 1,000 workers at its Findlay, Ohio, plant just after Thanksgiving, while American Crystal Sugar locked out some 1,300 of its workers at seven facilities more than six months ago, refusing to negotiate.
Journey for Justice leaders are using social media – Twitter and Facebook – to help publicize the effort on behalf of the locked-out workers, which is expected to add to the collection of non-perishable foods for their families.
“These anti-union employers think nothing of treating their workers as nothing more valuable than a used No. 2 pencils, to be discarded at will,” said UTU Alternate National Legislative Director John Risch, who formerly was state legislative director in North Dakota.
Said Minnesota State Legislative Director Phil Qualy: “These loyal and productive workers — our union brothers and sisters — have been locked out of their life-long jobs through no fault of their own. As fellow middle-class Americans and trade unionists, their plight is our plight and they need and deserve our help.”