Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Union members revisit picket line

1 Year Anniversary of Lockout

 

August 7, 2019

Boilermakers Local D-239 member Shawn Eva makes a toast last week to the late Terry Hendrickson. Voice photo by Melissa Jenkins

Members of the Boilermakers Local D-239 made a symbolic return to the picket line last week in Three Forks.

The return recognized the one-year anniversary of last year's August 2 lockout date. A total of 35 union were locked out of the Imerys Talc Plant from August 2 to October 31, 2018. The workers were locked out after refusing a contract they rejected after concerns about pensions, retirement, health care and job security.

Recently elected Montana AFL-CIO President and Local D-239 President Randy Tocci said he is not carrying a grudge following the lockout, but the union members should never forget.

"It can happen again, maybe not here, it may be somewhere else, and we need to go support them. We don't want to forget about this, because if we forget about it, we could get lazy and it could happen again and we don't need that," Tocci said.

Since their return nine months ago, he said they have worked as efficiently as they could and tried to change the direction management has been leading the plant.

Shawn Eva paints a line last Thursday near the Imerys Talc plant in Three Forks. Voice photo by Melissa Jenkins

Returning to the line, Shawn Eva said to be honest he is still a little bitter because of all the hate and discontent the lockout cost, adding it ripped Three Forks apart.

Tocci said with union members living in places like Bozeman, Ennis, Whitehall, Three Forks, Butte and Townsend, they don't get together as a unit and the lockout brought union members together and allowed them to meet each other's families.

"We got to bond with each other. We were all going through the same struggle," he said.

The union workers also raised a toast to longtime member Terry Hendrickson who passed away July 25. Tocci said Hendrickson was a member of the local union for 39 to 40 years and spent countless days on the picket line, adding he had no dog in the fight but he was a true union brother and he believed in their cause like he was working the job with them.

"He was probably one of our biggest supporters. He inspired us all," Tocci said.

 

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