Aug 11, 2010

Voices From the Picket Line: Randy Allen

From Randy Allen, Local 220* Secretary-Treasurer:

"Last week a number of Local 220* strikers went to the RWDSU constitutional convention in Orlando. We met, listened, and talked to many politicians, activists, and other working people.

"We have heard stories from members who have been out on strikes that have lasted from a few days, to many months. They have offered their thoughts, suggestions, and support to all of us here in Williamson.

"We were asked about signs that would have prepared us for the fact that Dr Pepper Snapple was going to force us to strike. Through these conversations, it became clear that many locals are seeing the same signs that we saw. Corporate greed isn’t only here in Williamson-workers are facing it everywhere. Hopefully, they will use this information to prevent being in the same position at their jobs.

"The hardest things for us this week was trying to control our emotions while watching the photos and videos of our members on the picket line and shared their stories--especially those with medical issues. Also, it is hard to recount some of the callous remarks the company has made about the people who invested their lives into building the Mott’s brand.

"The words spoken by leaders of the union, guests, and members throughout the convention were of nothing but positive and supportive, and greatly lifted our spirits. The only thing better would have been if every striker could have been there. You can be assured that we are sharing that energy with the strikers here. We need it, all of us are going through anger, sadness, and fear of the unknown.

"The theme through the convention was “STANDING UP for WORKING PEOPLE.” We are back in Williamson with those words echoing in our ears, and are passing them on to the strikers. Hearing some of the past struggles that UFCW and RWDSU members have fought and won, keeps us very confident about our own situation.

"I have come to the realization that you really do not know just how strong your coworkers are until you are tested. DPS says it's trying to “stay flexible and competitive.” They do not say that they were hurting financially. We would have worked with them if that were the case-we are committed to this company and these jobs.

"I do not think that Dr. Pepper Snapple really believed that our membership would put up a fight against the unfair practices they have engaged in. But they were wrong! Our own membership even underestimated how much community and labor help we are getting and how committed we are to this struggle. We are so thankful for the support.

"Dr. Pepper Snapple could try to work with the union and work out a fair contract for both sides but they have been unwilling to do so. DPS has shown no concern or respect for the work force that they have and should remember this that a happy and respected work force is a productive work force. From the lack of production inside the facility and the strong picket lines outside the facility it is clear that DPS does not have a happy and respected work force. They will have a long way to go in learning that from the UFCW, the RWDSU and our members.

"As the convention wrapped up, we can't help but to remain energized, ready to fight, and STAND UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE!"

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