On March 24, 60 workers at Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group in Auburn, Wash., went on strike after they made concessions that would save the company $20,000 per month and the company refused to share a portion of the savings with workers through increased salaries. The workers, members of the Machinists (IAM) Local 79, rejected the last offer from the company on May 10, and the company has hired replacement workers to fill 39 of the 60 jobs.
Belshaw accepted the proposal but offered a a one-time bonus instead of a salary increase from the savings. The workers rejected the offer, which would give them less money in the long run. The Local 79 members at Belshaw produce high-quality bakery equipment sold around the world. Many of the striking workers have worked for Belshaw for more than 30 years.
IAM Business Representative Melody Coffman condemned Belshaw's tactics:
Since March 24, the employees have been diligently manning the strike line at the Auburn facility of the employer. Since the beginning the employer has taken the position that it would replace the workers if they did not cave and come back to work.
Belshaw President Mr. Faw, through his labor negotiator, notified the union and its bargaining committee that it has replaced about 60% of the strikers and will continue to replace the remaining unless they accept the Last Best and Final document that was offered during mediation.
That document was voted down unanimously along with the message, 'We will not go back with less than we went out with.'
Last week, Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriAll Global Union, sent a letter of support on behalf of the striking workers:
I am writing to express our outrage at the behaviour of Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group in the negotiations, after the IAM Local 79 representatives at Belshaw offered a medical plan that saved the company more than $20,000 per month.
IndustriAll is asking supporters of the Belshaw workers to send a message of solidarity.