Thanks to everyone out there who helped these folks last one day longer ... I'll always appreciate your generosity toward them ... and of course, they'll be forever grateful for all the support they received. This is the message I received from Road Warrior Tena Battefeld:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Union as a Group, has ratified the company's last offer. We have a contract. Some of us are going back to work, which will be a very different world from what we once knew. Some of us are leaving. Every one of our Union brothers and sisters are very important. We have grown so much closer to each other during the lock-out. We are as strong, as a group, as we have ever been and could ever hope to be. This separation is going to hurt, a lot. God Bless and protect each and every one of you. Did we win?
Anger and feelings of betrayal will fade but never go away. Working for the betrayers and along side the scabs will be an ENORMOUS challenge. We're going to have to suck it up and TRY to get along if we are to succeed. This will be an individual challenge for each of us. Remember in the trials and tribulations to come that you are not alone, we each as individuals will still be a Union and you have brothers and sisters to share the pain. Learn to lean on each other. We still have the numbers and still retain some power in this.
Did we win? Pursuing the NLRB charges, as you heard, could have taken years, with no promise we'd win in the end. Everyone knows the pro-business environment of the present administration. It could be the threat posed by the NLRB to the company had peaked at this point. The company's last offer may have been as good as it was going to get. Maybe. Roll of the dice at this point. We made a decision though and we have to go forward from this point. Hindsight is 20/20 but totally worthless.
Did we win? We have a decent severance for those who won't walk beside us into this den of lions...well maybe den of jackals. The pay rate is back up from the lowest offer. Insurance is changed to the company WE chose. We have caps on increases. I don't like everything else in the contract but I never have. A contract is a combination of what we want and what they want. That's just the way it works. Life's rarely fair. We have fought an enormous fight against a very powerful adversary. We fought them to a standstill and actually pushed them back a few steps. We were helped by so many good people. We stand now at the end of our battle, panting and sweating in the bloodstained sand. Nearly a year from the start, we have a contract agreed to by a majority of our people. Celanese did NOT get all they wanted despite all their money, their subversion of the law or their political influence. We have, as I've said, a long hard fight inside the plant and we all still have the anger and emotional pain to deal with, but not alone. Stand strong...Stand Tall...We WON!!!
This was a message written by one of our brothers and he stated it the way it is, pretty well. I just want to send you all a copy and to let you know how grateful we will always be to all of you. Right at this moment I can’t really tell you how I feel because I don’t know myself. I do want everyone to know that we are still having the June 11 Hog roast and we still wish for everyone to attend if you can.
Believe me some good did come out of this year, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people like yourselves and others. We have to keep standing together and keep fighting these greedy bastard corporations before they destroy each and everyone of us.
IN SOLIDARITY your sister
Tena Battefeld IBB Local 484