UAW members strike International

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More than 4,000 UAW members at 11 local unions in six states went on strike Tuesday, Oct. 23, against International Truck and Engine in response to what it calls the company’s unfair labor practices.

“International Truck and Engine has shredded our agreement, shipped our work out of the country, and trampled our nation’s labor laws,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “When UAW members are on strike for justice anywhere, they have the support of UAW members everywhere — and our entire union is standing shoulder to shoulder with our members at ITE.”

UAW members on strike include workers for International’s Indianapolis engine plant; Indianapolis Casting Corp.; International’s clerical and technical staff in Indianapolis; Fort Wayne Engineering; International’s assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio; International’s clerical and technical staff in Springfield; International’s engine plant in Melrose Park, Ill.; International’s clerical and technical staff in Melrose Park; and International’s parts distribution centers in Atlanta, Dallas and York, Pa.

“Our bargaining committee came to these negotiations with every intention of reaching an agreement,” said UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Heavy Truck Department. “But it takes two sides to reach a deal — and it has unfortunately become apparent that management at ITE is not yet willing to work with us to negotiate a fair and equitable contract.”

Holiefield said International has violated U.S. labor law by making unilateral changes in the terms and conditions of employment, ordering an illegal lockout at the company’s assembly plant in Springfield, Ohio, and by refusing to provide the UAW bargaining team with information necessary for negotiations. “ITE executives moved our work to Mexico and to nonunion plants in Texas, cancelled our supplemental unemployment benefits, and ignored our job security program,” said Holiefield.

International spokesman Roy Wiley said the company has been “negotiating in good faith.” He said company officials don’t yet know what impact the strike will have on operations, adding that the Warrenville, Ill.-based company has both union and nonunion facilities. Wiley said production will continue as planned at nonunion plants.

UAW said it has filed unfair labor practices with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. “We’re prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time,” said Holiefield. “If the company is willing to abide by the law and respect our hard-working members at ITE, we believe we can resolve our differences.”