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Local 279 Strike at Weir Valves Entering 4th Week

10 December, 2014

Members of Local 279 were entering the fourth week of their strike at Weir Valves and Controls, determined to outlast the company. "While it's tough to face the prospect of being on strike through the holidays, our members are prepared for that," said President Kevin McPherson. "We recently had a membership meeting and had mostly bad news to report about the December 4 federal mediation session with the company, and informed them they should probably count on being out on strike for the remainder of the year,” said McPherson, “but the members took it in stride. Rather than being defeated our members resolved to fight back and the meeting quickly turned to an open discussion on tactics for how to do that. It was very heartening."

Local 279 members manufacture large industrial valves, including some for nuclear power plants. The 47 members of the local went on strike November 20 by unanimous vote, over a company healthcare and wage proposal that was in effect a wage cut, as well as company proposals to unfairly assign overtime and erode job security by using temps when union members were being laid off. Chief Steward Jason Gallant described life on the picket line. "We actually have a lot of fun out here even though strikes aren't supposed to be fun. It helps that we've seen a lot of support from other unions, and very, very few contractors, temps and delivery vehicles have been willing to cross our lines. Most of these guys aren't union but they understand what we're fighting for and won't cross the line."

Gallant and McPherson encouraged people who want to get involved to go to the UE Local 279 Facebook page where you can follow their progress and learn about ways to support the strike. UPDATE forthcoming!!!