IAM District 37 President Byron Williams says the strike at Houston’s Wyman-Gordon plant was triggered by the company trying to cut disability pay and wanting to start entry level workers at lower pay – around $12 an hour – while also freezing their wages for three years.
[Byron Williams]: “The insult with the current workforce – our brothers and sisters – is that they wanted to freeze those wages for three years. And with only periodic increases it would take, if you did just simple math, it would take fifty to sixty years for an employee to reach from entry level position to the top step labor grade.”
Wyman-Gordon isn’t claiming economic distress. They claim, as many companies these days do, that they want to stay “competitive”. When they pay their CEO’s “competitive” means lavishing them with more money and benefits. But when it comes to their workers “competitive” means slashing pay and benefits.
Williams says his union wants human rights and improving conditions for workers. And he says IAM strike spirit at Wyman-Gordon is strong with support from the community and other unions. He gave special thanks to the IBEW.
[Byron Williams]: “We’ve had retirees and others from the community droppin’ off water and food. And everywhere we go they’re asking – it’s funny – they were asking are we having a party? I say no, we’re having a labor dispute with the company they were immediately sympathetic and wishin’ us well and wantin’ to donate.
John Patrick from the state AFL is drivin’ in for support. And Hany Khalil from the Gulf Coast (Gulf Area Labor Federation) is lending a hand.