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Friday, May 6, 2016

USW protests at Great Dane

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Representatives from the United Steelworkers (USW) protested at the entrance of Great Dane Trailers Thursday evening as employees left the plant. The group tried to pass out flyers about an upcoming USW meeting. [Order this photo]
The Clay County Sheriff's Department had to direct traffic Thursday evening at the entrance of Great Dane Trailers due to a protest by the United Steelworkers (USW).

"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.

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come on people really, why do you want to stir crap again. Leave well enough alone, the right to work act got passed for a reason.

-- Posted by dbcoltharp on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 9:07 PM

I am sure that the employees of Great Dane would just love to pay the Union Dues along with the rest of the stuff that comes out of their checks. Really... A place that has been around since 1974 without a Union doesn't need one now to survive. Get over it and move on Union Organizers. Find other ginny pigs to join your Union.

-- Posted by MS440 on Thu, May 17, 2012, at 11:24 PM

Unions are the backbone of the middle class as a Teamster I know the true benefit of strong union leadership. I made more $$$$$ as a teamster member than my entire career! Unions will provide much better paying jobs over there and we need that in Clay County. As a union member I made $25.00 an hour and $75.00 on overtime. Right to work 4 less is a scam for the rich people.

-- Posted by Combat VET on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 7:07 AM

The fact of them saying "leave the property as soon as possible", really if you want a Union if you can't stand to work there then why would you want to HANG OUT in the parking lot? To me driving by Great Dane last night, the Union people were making it very UNSAFE for the employees to leave work. If anything happens to Great Dane, Clay County will suffer. Along with all the surrounding counties, people drive from one minute to more then a hour each day to work.

-- Posted by dbcoltharp on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 10:25 AM

Unions may have been the backbone of the middle-class back in the day, but that day is gone. If the USW is even beginning to show progress at Great Dane, who's to say Great Dane wouldn't just move from Brazil? IMHO, unions have destroyed American companies by demanding wages (not including benefits) a company just couldn't afford.

Seriously, Combat VET, if someone was to paint your house and the estimate by a union painter was $50 per hour (I know, union painters charge by the square foot, but I'm just using this as an example) and your neighbor ( laid off non-union painter), who was out of work with four kids to feed would do it for $20 p/h, you wouldn't want your neighbor to do it?

Unions are good, if you are on the receiving end, but if you are on the paying end (employers and customers like me), it's actually a rip-off. That union painter painting your house? He's taking paid breaks and lunches. Your neighbor? He's saying "Hey VET, I have to run my wife to the doctor, I'll be back later on." You don't pay him for that.

Combat VET, you know deep in your heart which painter you'd choose... or at least I'd hope you'd make the right choice. The latter would benefit you and your neighbor.

-- Posted by My Dime on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 10:59 AM

There are employers who treat their employees well and have no need for a union.

Great Dane is not one of these employers.

-- Posted by MegaGlide on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 11:04 AM

That's NOT what I hear. Workers want the right to ask for a safe work place. Unions make the community a better place, Ask any cop or fireman they have the best Unions around. FOP+AFL-CIO+Teamsters+Steel Workers=Brotherhood of happier workers.

-- Posted by Combat VET on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 12:19 PM

What's not safe about it? The few accidents that do happen are caused from Lack Of Commmon Sense!

-- Posted by Kay Fitch on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 2:47 PM

Kay you are right, I mean my brother about got killed out there 19 years ago next month, it was common sense!!! A guy on a tow motor not doing what he was trained to do.

-- Posted by dbcoltharp on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 3:30 PM

As we all know, Unions started with good intentions, like our "late" Jimmy Hoffa, then thing gets a little fuzzy..."headsswells",power hungry & dirty politics...well now the "good intentions pave the way to hell"!!

Oh! One more fact: people who are hired and gets laid off after three months,because of low pruduction requests, when they go to the unemployment office to sign up they find out that they cannot collect. You have to have woked & pay your deductions for at least six months.NOW TELL ME THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS ARE CORRECT AS THIS AMINISTRATION TRY TO FOOL YOU! If you cannot sign up you don't count... and so the ones that can't find a decent incom earning job and stop looking and wasting gas mone to drive all the way to the unemployment office for signing up.Then you find them at the exits of the Interstates ramps with cardboard signs. How about that!?!

-- Posted by fastcharger on Sat, May 19, 2012, at 5:35 AM

I work for a Steel Mill that is non-Union, however in a different State. This Company is on of a kind in Southern California and is ISO Certified. Our employees are happy without a Union because we know what effect one will have within our workforce. There will not be a workforce. High dues or the employees, price increases of the product for the employer, and people doing less work because of the attitude of being paid fro the job you do and only that job, is non productive. Refer to what happen to Kaiser Steel in Fontana California.

I am not saying Unions are not goo, I am saying with a fare management and committed employees, a union is not needed. Higher wages is something that should be looked at by the management however if they haven't in the past year. Ways can be found to help the employees bring home more, such as not having to pay for their own safety equipment.

-- Posted by Nosredna Retep on Sun, May 20, 2012, at 4:45 AM

Hey boys, I'm retired and worked for a union for many year. ou call 9.00 hr good money. Try to raise 3-4 kids these days on that wage, won't happen. The management of great dane has its employees over a barrel and they know it. The employees are afraids of there employer, Bottom Line.

-- Posted by Eaglesnest 1 on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 7:16 PM

This place needs a Union!! One the Point system is totally stupid and the pay is nowhere near what Wabash National pays for the same type work.And too many workers are working in the same trailers which seems very dangerous with the tools being used.

-- Posted by mr2driver88 on Tue, May 22, 2012, at 12:22 AM

Unions still exist? Why? Thank goodness for the right to work being passed. People must have decided their union wasn't worth the dues, and now the union is is in need of more money and dues, so they decide to try to get more members at Great Dane.

Union... you did have your calling several years ago. Not today. We have laws that protect workers.

-- Posted by Unsolicitedtidbits on Tue, May 22, 2012, at 2:10 PM

If Wabash National pays better... put in your application?

-- Posted by Unsolicitedtidbits on Tue, May 22, 2012, at 2:12 PM

What's the point in hiring someone,if all they are going to do is call in all the time?All this accomplishes is make it harder on the people who actually do come to work,by having to do the job you we hired to do on top of their own job! This company doesn't owe anyone anything,the people that work there came there on their own free will.I have yet to see management or anyone else holding anyone prisoner there.The whole fact of the matter is,some people JUST DON"T WANT TO WORK!(and get paid the same wages as the older employees who have been there for several years). Life just doesn't work that way.Grow up and be someone who can do the the JOB!If another company pays more,then go work for them.I guess you could always go to a fast food place and work for minimum wage,but hey,they're going to expect the same thing as everywhere else,that you do the job you were hired to do.

-- Posted by Kay Fitch on Tue, May 22, 2012, at 6:04 PM

Here's how this is going to play out - the same way it did in the early 90s when I worked for the BIG DOG:

1. Management will ruffle union feathers.

2. Union reps will make headway with employees.

3. Employees will lean heavy on Union = YES.

4. Management will threaten to move Great Dane to Savannah.

5. Employees will vote Union = NO.

6. Business as usual.

How Great Dane treats their employees is NOTHING NEW. The Union coming to Great Dane is nothing new. Employees wanting the union is nothing new. Management manipulating the situation to their advantage is nothing new.

End result = Employees - 0, Management - 1

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, May 23, 2012, at 12:19 PM

But, if the employees "win" this time and Great Dane moves, what's the prize? I don't work there, but I do work a non-union job. With the economy the way it is, I'd vote no. A low paying job is still a paying job.

-- Posted by My Dime on Wed, May 23, 2012, at 9:25 PM

I don't get it, apparently. I mean, I am all for a union in places that severely mistreat employees, or hire them at slave labor wages. But, this is not the case for Great Dane. This factory has been a staple for this county for many years. People come and go, but there are also lots that have stayed.

In the end, if you don't like it, go someplace else. They are not mistreating employees, and it is still some of the best wages in the county. Stop complaining about a job, and just be happy you have one. Many people today are without work, and many places are not hiring. great Dane is hiring right now!! How many other places can say that, in an economy where unemployment is over 10%.

Take a job when you can get it. If you don't like it, leave. It's that simple.

-- Posted by Oldtown on Wed, May 23, 2012, at 10:53 PM

while we are at it lets bust the police and firefighters union since they have excellent working conditions and benefits comparable to all the other business's and the unions are not needed there apparently...... btw before you get your feathers ruffled this is just an analogy about unions

-- Posted by brazil citizen on Mon, May 28, 2012, at 8:49 PM

The police department does not have a union, as of yet. I don't understand why the fire department has one, though. They get everything they ask for, then the police department gets the exact same thing without a union. If the city refused to meet the FD's demands, I heard they could not strike, so what's the point.

Think it's about time for a volunteer fire department in Brazil?

-- Posted by My Dime on Mon, May 28, 2012, at 10:47 PM

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