IUOE Local 150 Goes on Strike Against Major Material Producers and Quarries Across Northern Illinois
Local 150 filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials, and Lafarge Holcim
COUNTRYSIDE, ILLINOIS – This morning, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 commenced a strike against three major material producers at facilities across Northern Illinois in protest of unfair labor practices committed against its members.
In recent days, Local 150 filed federal unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the three companies – Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials, and Lafarge Holcim – for bad faith bargaining and violations of employees’ federally protected rights. These companies began busing in replacement workers yesterday at several locations, despite having negotiations scheduled today and tomorrow.
The companies produce aggregate materials including sand, gravel and crushed stone that are essential to the production of asphalt, concrete, and many other construction materials. Collectively, they operate approximately 35 quarries and facilities across Northern Illinois that employ approximately 300 Local 150 members, who were classified as “essential workers” throughout the pandemic. These workers operate heavy equipment that is critical to the routine operation of these facilities.
Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney issued the following statement:
“The companies’ aggressive encroachment against their employees’ rights has damaged decades of goodwill and cooperation in our industry. They have disregarded these workers’ health and safety and appear unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
These workers take pride in the tireless work they have done to keep critical construction work going throughout the pandemic, and despite their efforts, their employers have taken unilateral steps to treat them more like adversaries than partners.
As we prepared for this week’s negotiations, we received reports that several companies began importing replacement workers from across the country. We remain willing to negotiate in good faith with the companies and have offered several dates to work toward a fair and equitable resolution, but these workers demand to have their rights, their health and their safety protected at work.
These men and women are highly skilled professionals who cannot simply be replaced and who will not be treated as commodities by multinational corporations more concerned with continuing to generate record profits rather than protecting the safety of the very workers who are the bedrock of their success.”