Hundreds of members of IAM Local 2018, joined by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, rallied outside the Regal Beloit plant in Valparaiso, IN Friday for more affordable health insurance and higher wages, as their strike entered week three.
IAM Local 2018 members employed at Regal’s Valparaiso facility manufacture part bearings for the aerospace industry, including various helicopters for the U.S. government and military.
“As the Chair of Defense Appropriations, I have a special appreciation for the contribution each one of you make to the defense of our nation,” said Rep. Visclosky. “You make the components, parts of the most sophisticated equipment for the defense of a nation… and do it better than anyone else. It is my hope as we meet here today that you get back in the building and keep doing what you do best. Working for a living wage, good health care and a sound retirement. I support your efforts.”
Regal Beloit Manufacturing continues to stonewall negotiations with IAM Local 2018 members. This after the more than 130 members voted – an overwhelming 99 percent – to strike.
“That’s why you have unions. That’s why you have organized labor and the right to join together to collectively bargain,” said Rep. Visclosky. “To make sure that the dignity of your work is recognized. To make sure that your wages recognize your skill and dexterity, your knowledge and hard work. That you and your loved ones have the proper health care provided to you throughout your life. To make sure that when you retire, you’re going to have a secure retirement.”
The IAM presented the company with a reasonable offer to end the dispute on July 16, 2019. The company, refusing to bargain in good faith, rejected the union’s offer and has refused to come back to the table.
“For the past two contracts, this group accepted low wage increases and bonuses instead of raises,” said lead negotiator and IAM Local 2018 Business Representative Dave Gault. “The company said it wasn’t making money like it should and ‘if you sign this contract when things get better we’ll take care of you.’ Well, now things are better, and they reneged on their promise.”
“We just want to live,” said IAM Local 2018 member Steve Morgan. “We just want to be able to pay our bills, not be evicted, not have the electric cut off. With the health insurance, they’re lowering our wages. We just want enough to live.”
Monetary donations can be sent to IAM Local 2018, 2346 S. Lynhurst Drive, Suite B-206, Indianapolis, IN 46241. Food and supplies can be sent to VFW Post 988, Attn: Regal Strike Command, 705 Roosevelt St, Valparaiso, IN 46383.
Regal Beloit is a leading manufacturer of electric motors, electrical motion controls, power generation and power transmission products serving markets throughout the world.