April 1, 2009
Machinists of Local W369 to return to work
From the IAM web site:
Striking members of Local W369 in Moncure, North Carolina, will return to work at Moncure Plywood with their contract and their dignity intact after ratifying a new three-year contract that preserves seniority rights and sharply restricts the amount of forced overtime employees can be required to work.
“The new contract is a dramatic improvement over the original terms proposed by the company and rejected by the members,” said Local W369 President Lewis Cameron. “Seniority is respected, scheduling issues will be resolved more equitably and most importantly, the workers’ contract is preserved.” The Local W369 Bargaining Committee unanimously recommended a ‘yes’ vote on the new contract.
CONGRATULATIONS TO MEMBERS OF W369!
The proposed changes that triggered the strike, which began on July 20, 2008, were a mandatory 7-day, 60-hour work weeks, the end of seniority rights, huge increases in health insurance premiums, and other significant changes to an agreement that had been in force for over 40 years.
The company went so far as to hire permanent replacement workers and suggested any agreement would depend on the union abandoning the strikers. Management refused to meet with the union or federal mediators.
Through it all, the members of W369 stood strong, walking a picket line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in sunshine and in the rain, in the heat of summer and bitter cold of winter. The strike stretched into four seasons and through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and into the New Year.
Yet the union prevailed because the members held the line.
With the support of labor, student, and community activists from across North Carolina, the members of W369 knew that others stood in solidarity with them. And for eight months, they held the line. Congratulations to the members of W369, and thank you for your courage.
Attend a benefit and help members recover from long strike
You can celebrate the victory of W369 in securing a contract and help its members recover from near financial ruin after the grueling 8-month strike by attending a benefit tonight and on Sunday.
Tonight, the Moncure Solidarity Committee is holding a baked chicken dinner and auction to benefit the strikers. This event will be held from 6 to 9 pm at the General Store Cafe, 39 West St, Pittsboro, NC. Tickets for the dinner are just $15. For more information, download the flyer.
On Sunday, April 5, the Labor Caucus of the Young Democrats of North Carolina is hosting a reception to honor the Moncure strikers. The reception will be held from 4 to 6 pm at the home of Valerie Johnson, 2905 Alderman Lane, Durham, NC.
Update: Added link to article in News & Observer about the end of the strike.