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Latest News - November 2011

November 28, 2011
ATMI Precast locks out more than 100 union members
Source: Fox Valley Labor News
By: Pat Barcas

Workers from ATMI Precast in Aurora picket outside the company last week after being locked out. They say they will stand in solidarity until a contract agreement is met.

About 110 Aurora union workers are still picketing in front of ATMI Precast, an Aurora company that locked out the members of Teamsters Local 673 Nov. 14 on account of a contract dispute.


The welders, carpenters, laborers and custodial staff found themselves locked out when they came to work that morning. The men, mostly immigrants from Mexico and South America, have been replaced by temporary workers.


“We just want the community to know, we’re hard working men. We’ve helped build a lot of office buildings for the government, the casinos around here, and construction in other states,” said Fidel Vizcarra from Aurora, who was on the picket line last week.


ATMI Precast, located at 960 Ridgeway Ave., makes precast concrete products, then ships them out for construction in new buildings and structures. The lockout occurred after contract negotiations from March 2010 reached an impasse, but the workers claim they just want what’s fair for them.


“We feel bad, because when profits are up, the company just buys new equipment. They don’t think about us,” said Vizcarra. “There are men who have been working here for 20 years, and they still make minimum wage with two weeks of paid vacation.”


The workers on the picket line said they agreed to a 20 percent pay cut two years ago, and didn’t want to compromise again on the latest contract. The union turned down this contract, which included a 5 percent wage increase, three times before voting down the final offer on Nov. 5. The men said they have also been paying higher insurance premiums as a concession of the last contract.


“We just want our 20 percent back,” said Vizcarra. “We will be here day-by-day. They put pressure on us, we’ll put pressure back.”


Daniel Galindo echoed Vizcarra’s sentiment.


“We have families too, just like everyone else. This is a terrible time to not have a job,” he said. “We are just asking for what they took from us, just what’s fair. We know the economy is bad right now, but we feel that’s fair to us.”


The men said they plan on picketing in front of the company until they get their jobs back.


“We prefer to stay here together, we feel we work better that way,” said Vizcarra.

 

 


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