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Jul
2013
9

Unions Pour Cash, Solidarity Into LiUNA! Local 563 Strike Fund to Keep Picket Against Cretex Alive

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In late June we wrote about members of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA!) Local 563 striking in Minnesota against their employer, Cretex, because the company is trying to scrap their pensions. Health benefits were set to run out on June 30th, but union solidarity had the cure for that: a strike fund to help the 40 construction craft laborers affected.  

Since, other local unions have contributed bringing the total reserve to $125,000. Tim Mackey, business manager of Local 563, told the Minnesota Building Trades:

“This is solidarity at its finest.  This fund will make being on the picket line and fighting for what’s right a little bit easier for all involved. Striking workers make many sacrifices when they decide to stand up for what they believe in. Being able to continue their health benefits shows that they are supported and that they can continue to aim their focus on saving the retirement benefits they have earned and are entitled to.”

The workers have been on the picket line since June 19th after working nearly six month — since December 31st, 2012 — without a contract.  Cretex is attempting to halt contributions to pension funds and slash retirement packages by nearly 80 percent.  Mackey describes the forced concessions:

To take away a plan that has been supported by the workers own paychecks is unethical and simply wrong,” said Mackey. “Our members are on that picket line for the long haul and this recent show of support from our union and other union groups is a fine example of the strength of organized labor. Nobody is alone in this fight. It’s a fight we have the resources and support to win.”

Workers will remain on the picket line located at 7070 Cretex Avenue in Shakopee, MN until management returns to the bargaining table in good faith, Mackey said:

“The people on the picket lines are very grateful for the support they have received, especially from the other unions who don’t have any real stake in this fight,” said Mackey. “To know someone outside of the situation has your back makes it much easier to get up every day and continue to fight for what you deserve and believe in.”

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