MAPLETON, Ill., March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the past two years, the 125 workers at the Evonik Industries Co. chemical factory have been working without a labor contract and under imposed terms and conditions of employment.
They have also been working diligently to settle the remaining issues which divide them, mainly the management's position that "Seniority is a thing of the past".
A mass rally is being held the day before the union and company are scheduled to meet in nearby Pekin in an effort to settle these issues.
"Our workforce handles toxic chemicals daily and we are scheduled for some really rough rotating shifts that take a toll on our health and our families. We make an excellent product, the company is highly profitable, and we hold safety as a high priority. We've already given millions of dollars in concessions. You'd expect at the very least that our years of experience would be respected," says Larry Stuart, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7-807 president.
"This rally is being held to send the message to Evonick Industries that this disrespect is unacceptable and that enough is enough. Let's get the contract done."
The USW local union points out that the company has been having a hard time hiring and holding on to employees.
"In a time of high unemployment you'd think it would be easy to hire people at a factory job like this," says Daryl Hicke, a union grievance chairman who works that the chemical plant. "But the danger and difficulty of the job and the lack of appreciation, makes it tough to keep people. Our management needs to realize they've got to show they value the people who make Evonik Industries work."
Members of the Peoria area labor movement will also attend the rally. "Seniority rights are so basic to all workers. You can't just throw people out after they've become experienced and knowledgeable on the job. It's a precedent that we can't allow to be set. We've come out to support the Evonik workers before, and we'll be there until they get this settled," says Mike Everett, current president of the Labor Council of West Central Illinois.
All citizens are welcome to join the 'Evonik Workers Support Rally' anytime between 6:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m. Monday March 12.
Date:Monday March 12 Where: Evonik Plant, Rt. 24, Mapleton, IL When: 6:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m., (ET)
>Attention Assignment Editors: Photo Opportunity at Factory Gate of Area Workers Rally
>Attention News Reporters: Interviews Available by Contacting Robin Rich 219-743-0624, or Larry Stuart 309-303-0489
For more information contact: Robin Rich 219-743-0624 or Larry Stuart 309-303-0489