Belshaw Workers Ratify Agreement After Six-Month Strike

IAM Local 79 members employed at Belshaw Adamatic in Seattle overwhelmingly approved the company’s latest offer, ending a 196-day strike for fairness on the job.

Closing the books on a 196-day strike, IAM District Lodge 160 Directing Business Representative Dan Morgan announced that IAM Local Lodge 79 members employed at Belshaw Adamatic in Seattle overwhelmingly approved the company’s latest offer which included the last key provision the union held the line to achieve: All of the union members would go back to work and the “permanent replacement workers” would be dismissed.

The Belshaw workers, who produce high-quality bakery equipment sold around the world, went on strike March 24 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. They held strong on the picket line, but after they again rejected a company offer on May 10, management reportedly hired replacement workers to fill 39 of the 60 affected jobs.

“This was a hard-fought win for our members,” said IAM District Lodge 160 Directing Business Representative Dan Morgan.  “Congratulations to the members of Local 79 employed at Belshaw Adamatic.  As you go back to work, do not forget that it was your collective strength that put you and your brothers and sisters back into that plant.”

“These workers stood strong and refused to go back until they got a contract that properly addressed their concerns,” said Kevin Cummings, Grand Lodge Representative for the IAM who helped broker the final details of the agreement. “The company brought in new leadership for the facility, and we were finally able to have legitimate discussions. This new contract is a testament to solidarity and protecting the future. We are very proud of the members for not giving up.”

“This is a testament to the fact that when workers stand united, there is nothing they cannot accomplish,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen, referring to the solidarity that endured amongst the members of Local 79 as only three individuals crossed the picket line during this 196-day strike. “Congratulations to all! As Fighting Machinists, stay strong and united as you return to work.”

Throughout the more than six-month ordeal, Local 79 got good coverage from the labor press, including the national AFL-CIO, the global union IndustriALL, and an outpouring of messages of solidarity from all corners of the U.S., Canada, Australia, England, Poland, The Philippines, Costa Rica, Greece, Italy and the Czech Republic. Some Belshaw customers, such as Frickin’ Delights Donuts in Devon, Alberta, Canada also voiced their support for the union (Give ’em a “Like” on Facebook www.facebook.com/FrickinDelights).

The leadership of Local 79 wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to all for their support, especially their union Sisters and Brothers who joined them on the picket line.