(Greendale, Ind.) - They held picketing signs along State Road 1 in Greendale all day Thursday.
Members of the United Steel Workers union at Anchor Glass Container Corporation’s eight glass-making facilities nationwide went on strike after their Collective Bargaining Agreement expired Wednesday.
Ted Lockman is the USW Local 138 Vice President leading the strike in Greendale. He was joined by seven other members on the picket line in front of the factory Thursday.
“They’re trying to gut our (healthcare) program. We really don’t feel this is right. They said they offered a good package for us. Obviously we wouldn’t be out here if it was a good package,” Lockman said.
“Somebody has got to stand up and fight. If we don’t stop it here who’s going to stop it?” he said.
The strike began Thursday after the union’s CBA with Anchor Glass expired Wednesday.
Lockman said the two sides began going to the bargaining table on July 27. The talks between the company and union leaders in Tamp, Florida broke down in recent days.
The union is prepared to strike for as long as it takes the two sides to return to the bargaining table.
“If I got to be out here six months, I’ll be out here six months,” he said.
In a company statement, Anchor Glass says the union members “have good, well-paying manufacturing jobs that include market-competitive wages and comprehensive healthcare and retiree benefits. Anchor’s offer to the USW for the new CBA provides an increase in total compensation over the existing agreement.”
The company also states the USW leadership has taken an action that could negatively impact employees and their families.
Operations at the plant have not been stopped due to the strike. Anchor Glass said it has and will continue to take all appropriate action to ensure uninterrupted service to its customers.
Lockman said some front office employees at the Greendale facility have been filling the union’s role to keep the plant rolling.
“I honestly feel they cannot keep the quality up and I would be surprised if some of their customers – Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark – don’t take a look at this,” said Lockman of the union’s hands-on production role. “We have to keep standards. We have to keep things mic’properly. They don’t have people in there to do that, so how are they going to keep the quality on these bottles?”
Anchor Glass says it will continue to respect the USW’s right to picket lawfully.