"We're trying to assist the workers in organizing the workplace of Great Dane," Organizing Coordinator Ted Sautter said.
The USW were distributing information about workers' rights to Great Dane employees as they left and came to work. The men with the USW were trying to tell employees about a USW informational meeting this Saturday, May 19, at the National Guard Armory.
The meeting will be at 1 p.m., and the USW will discuss steps to forming a union at Great Dane, legal rights and protections under federal law to form a USW local union and the advantages to union representation.
Sautter said he didn't feel the Great Dane management was cooperating.
"The company has come out there and is interfering with (the workers') rights," Sautter said. "We also have work charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board -- unfair labor practice charges -- because (Great Dane) has violated the federal law. They have threatened employees; they tell them they can't even stay one minute after work -- they have to leave the property. They tell them they can't wear buttons and all sorts of violations of the (National Labor Relations Act)."
Sautter and the other USW representatives believe the workers of Great Dane want a union.
"We are here to try to support the workers," Sautter said. "The workers say we want to have a voice. They're tired of paying high benefit costs and their wages are low. Almost 1,000 workers turned over in this plant last year, and that should tell you when you lose that many workers there is something wrong. We're here to support the workers because they want a union."
Sautter also said he felt Great Dane management was uncooperative to their efforts.
"They have never stopped traffic here before and they have this time," Sautter said. "It tells me the local sheriff's department is in cahoots with management. Unfortunately, the only problems being created are by management here."
The Brazil Times was unable to reach any Great Dane representatives to speak on behalf of the plant at press time.