Thursday, December 7th, 2006
Union: Workers may get penalties for returning to Goodyear jobs early
Two United Steelworkers cross picket line in St. Marys
By Janie Southard
ST. MARYS - Top United Steelworkers union officials stopped in St. Marys this week as part of a multi-city tour in support of striking members on the picket line.
The union execs did not hesitate to say what's in store for those who cross that line.
According to United Steelworkers (USW) Local 200L President Gary Glass, the union's legal representative told more than 200 members at Tuesday's meeting the USW will pursue as far as legally possible the recovery of fines and any portion of the pay any strike-breakers make.
"To cross the line, members would have to resign from the union. When we're back to work, there will be penalties to rejoin," Glass told The Daily Standard on Wednesday afternoon at his local union office.
Glass confirmed two Steelworkers crossed the line and are back on the job at the St. Marys plant.
"This is the first time ever in St. Marys that this has happened," he said shaking his head at this first lapse in solidarity. However, he also noted there are several instances of local strikers facing severe financial hardship.
A portion of the $115 a week each striker receives from USW headquarters is deposited locally in an emergency fund, which is available to help members who face repossessions, mortgage defaults, etc.
Both Glass and Local 200L Vice President Rick Niekamp confirmed that fund is being used.
In observance of the holiday season, the Pittsburgh-based union has announced it is giving a $100 Christmas bonuses to more than 12,000 workers on strike from Goodyear in the United States and Canada, as well as some 900 other workers striking or locked out from various companies.
Benefits to striking members are paid from the union's $150 million strike fund.
Glass commented on what he termed the "shame" of the whole (negotiation) process.
"You know, this isn't the same Goodyear we've dealt with before. The company guys in Cincinnati (where negotiations take place) weren't brought up through the company. They came in from somewhere else ... And, they can't make a decision. They're always on the phone to Akron," Glass said.