For over four weeks, 43 Machinists at the earth moving equipment manufacturer in Ashland have been on strike. At issue, is not wages and benefits but the right to a strong union.
At a rally on Saturday, April 28, community members rallied in support of striking workers
The Ashland Daily Press reports that Joe Groshek, Washburn stood in solidarity with the strikers:
“I don’t know any of these individuals on strike, but if one of us is on strike, all of us are on strike. Workers have to stick together. That’s why we’re all here today supporting these folks, because they’re representing all of us, all the working people in Wisconsin and the United States.”
Rick Lunda, of Ashland, attended the rally to support his striking friends and their families. Lunda said he was not only supporting Ashland Industries workers, but to also supporting unions in general.
“Personally, I hope it opens the eyes of the companies out there. They can’t treat workers this way. It’s more than just the bottom line. It’s about fairness."
The company is attacking the union’s security and does not want to offer new hires adequate health insurance. The company claims that they are simply giving the workers a choice whether or not to join the union. The workers made their choice clear when they voted down the contract 40-0.
“It feels good to see all these people here to help our cause to get back to work again,” said James Pupp, a welder who has been employed at Ashland Industries for 10 years. “All we want is our security and our family health plan.”
The company is ramping up its corporate attacks on the workers by advertising for replacement workers in local newspapers, radio stations and on the company website.
The striking Machinists are standing up to corporate greed and fighting for every working person. They are striking to ensure that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can have a decent paying job and a middle class life.
Scott Walker’s attacks on unions are spreading like a disease across the private sector in Wisconsin. First, it was Manitowoc Cranes, now it is Ashland Industries. This is a time to come together in solidarity to support our striking brothers and sisters. When workers come together to have a voice at work through their union we all benefit.
At this time we are asking for strike assistance in the form of money and food donations. Checks can be sent to:
Al Daoust, Local Lodge 621
115 18th Street E
Ashland, WI 54806
Please drop off non-perishable food items at the following locations:
Chegueamegon Dems Office IAM District 10 Office
316 W. Main St. 1650 South 38th Street.
Ashland, WI 54806 Milwaukee, WI 53215
715-682-2769 (414) 643-4334
Media Coverage of the Strike
• Ashland Daily Press: Striking workers receive support at rally
• ABC, Ashland Industries Strike Continues, Replacement Workers Wanted
• Northlands News Center: 43 Members of Ashland's Local 621 On Strike
• 91.3 KUWS, Machinists union strikes Ashland Industries
• Ashland Industries hires replacement workers