Striking Ingersoll Rand Workers Get Jolt of Community Support

IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn Tucker, Jr., fires up workers and supporters at a rally outside the Cheektowaga, NY Ingersoll Rand plant.

Supportive honks have been ringing out for more than two weeks outside the Ingersoll Rand plant in Cheektowaga, NY, where 240 IAM members are striking for a fair contract from the compression manufacturer. Earlier this week, that support became even more audible.

READ: Ingersoll Rand Workers Striking to Keep Middle Class Lifestyle

Hundreds of people representing up to 25 unions in the Buffalo area, and numerous community leaders and politicians, showed up to put their voice behind IAM Local 330 members who are fighting against a company-proposed two-tier wage scale and dramatically higher employee health insurance costs.   

New York State Sen. Marc Panepinto told the crowd he was “upset that Ingersoll Rand is trying the mettle of Buffalo workers.”

“Their CEO makes 365 times what the average worker makes in a year, and they’re trying to pass the buck onto working people,” said Panepinto.

Richard Lipsitz, Jr., a union organizer and president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation, told supporters that struggles for economic justice “are taking place all over the country now.”

Ingersoll Rand has hired temporary workers during the labor dispute, but IAM District 65 Business Representative Peter Cooney says he doubts the company is getting much production out of the workers.

“These are high-skill jobs, it’s not an assembly line situation,” said Cooney. “This place, they build compressors from the ground up.”

Cooney is maintaining regular contact with the company, but says little progress has been made to end the work stoppage.

See more coverage of the rally in The Public.