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Oct
2013
3

Striking LiUNA! 563 Cretex Workers Gain MN Gov’s Support, May Be Joined by IUOE Local 49

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Workers at the Minnesota company Cretex, represented by LiUNA! Local 563, have been on strike for over 100 days in an attempt to avoid having their retirement packages slashed by 80 percent. The work stoppage has caused road construction delays which Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation can no longer bare.

Dayton and MN DOT met with union officials in hopes of avoiding further delays and diminished road quality, a concern that has grown since replacement workers were brought in.  Other industry leaders are concerned about the long term ramifications of the strike, according to KSTP:

Mike Frost owns Nova-Frost Company in Hastings. He was invited to the meeting to share his perspective on the potential effects the strike might have on road repair jobs in the near future.
Frost tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “The product at Cretex has not always been available since the strike began, and that already has lead to some delays.” Frost also says he has noticed some of the pre-cast concrete products have been inferior since replacement workers started working at Cretex.

Workers at the Cretex plant in Shakopee make precast concrete manholes and sewer pipes which are essential to road construction.  Over 40 construction craft laborers have been on strike for over three months as management attempts to eliminate pension contributions.  Prior to striking they had been working without a contract.  

Now, Engineers at the plant are ready to go on strike as their pensions and retirement packages are about to meet the same fate.  

Tim Mackey, business manager for Local 563, told Finance and Commerce that during the meeting he warned Gov. Dayton about the potential delays that could come from the labor dispute.  He warned that if the engineers, represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 49, go on strike as well the problems could intensify.  Local 49 business manager Glen Johnson also attended the meeting and told Finance and Commerce:

“We don’t intend on allowing Cretex to take our members’ pensions away,” Johnson added. “We’re ready to fight for our members’ retirement, too. We are on deck. They know it and we know it. We are not going to roll over. It’s time to restore the dignity of working labor.”

After the meeting, Gov. Dayton attended the convention of the Minnesota State Retirees Council where he commented on the dispute

One Cretex worker, the governor recalled, had “tears streaming down her face” as she explained what losing her pension after 20 years of service to the company would mean for her family’s quality of life. Dayton did not identify Cretex by name, but said it was disheartening to see any company “take advantage of the fact there really isn’t a recourse for working men and women” when management decides to cut workers’ benefits.

To stay up to date on this important strike check out Local 563’s Facebook page.

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