Thursday, October 18, 2012

Teamsters strike Md. dairy for 5 tough weeks (UPDATE)

Our striking brothers in Cumberland, Md.
(UPDATES to correct it's Joint Council 62, not 67.)

Potomac Dairy is refusing to even talk on the telephone to Teamster Local 453 members who've been on strike for nearly five weeks. Management just peers out the window at the strikers. Meanwhile, local grocery stores say they're losing a quarter of their business.

Local 453 President Larry Wolfe says they've been at the table for a year and a half. Not only is the pension issue of great concern, but 15 months of retroactivity and holiday pay is at stake as well. The members say they've been working six-day weeks for 10 hours a day. From a Joint Council 62 website:
Local 453 represents drivers and production workers at the Cumberland dairy plant and others working in Virginia and West Viginia. The company provides dairy products to local schools and convenience stores. 
The Teamsters have represented workers at Potomac Farms for decades, and the relationship with the employer has always been a good one. In 1984, the Galliker Dairy Company of Johnstown, Pa., acquired the Potomac Farms Dairy operation. Since then labor management relations have been handled by the corporate parent. "This is the most anti-worker company we've had to to deal," Wolfe said.
The local television news,, reported on the strike today. We tried to watch the video and failed, but maybe you can see it here. tells us:
Yeah, well, not so much anymore.
"I want this over," says Ronnie Shambaugh, a striking dairy worker. 
It's been over a month since Potomac Farms Dairy workers went on strike. 
"We're getting very small pay from the teamsters now: some of us are surviving on a hundred dollars a week right now," says Thomas Fair, a striking dairy worker. 
The workers' union rejected the business' offer that would cut their pension and pay back in June. Since then, they haven't heard a word. 
"They'll stand at this door and window and peer out, they won't respond to you, they won't respond to us, it's such a terrible position for a company that used to be thought of as the local cow," says Larry Wolfe, President of the worker's union, Teamsters Local 453. 
When WHAG approached the Potomac Farms Manufacturing building, the doors were locked and a front-door buzzer responded, "we have no comment."
Stay strong, brothers and sisters.