Solidarity boosts Ky. concrete workers strike

By Steve Packard
and Jacquie Henderson
November 12, 2018

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The strike by concrete workers at Allied Ready Mix here remains solid as the workers begin their fourth week of picketing. The 48 striking drivers, mechanics, loader operators and batchmakers, members of Teamsters Local 89, report that the bosses haven’t tried to run production or haul out any concrete.

The workers went on strike Oct. 8, after rejecting the bosses’ “final offer” that would cut health care, vacations, overtime and pensions, with steeper reductions for new hires.

“The company’s done some cleanup  but nothing has moved since we’ve been out,” Kevin Bradshaw told us while picketing Oct. 26. “We’re here every day, so we know.”

Support for the workers has grown each week, even though no local media have mentioned the strike since the first day. In addition to support from workers in the Butchertown area near the plant, unionists from factories in Kentucky and Indiana, along with workers in retail who don’t yet have unions, have brought supplies to the strikers, messages of support and joined in picketing. This week UPS workers, fellow members of Local 89, joined the picket line.

“We already pay high premiums for our family insurance. If they get away with doubling them it will be hard for any of us to cover the cost,” said Eddie Pirrmann, a shop steward.

“And their proposed contract doesn’t even offer new hires the option of family coverage,” he said. “That’s bad for the new workers, but terrible for all of us.

“Six years ago, when they were facing bankruptcy,” Pirrmann said, “they made us take concessions, saying we had to ‘keep the company alive.’ We’re still suffering from those cuts and they’re making big profits.”

Striker Travis Cress, a maintenance worker, agreed. “Health care for my young children is the main reason I’m out here,” he said. He also noted that another big issue is safety.

“In my six years here I’ve seen them cut so many corners, it’s crazy!” said Curtis Banks. “It’s like a death trap walking around the plant. There’s the lack of guard rails, having to walk across wooden planks, and trucks that leak hydraulic fluid and run on bad tires.”

“They are trying to put the squeeze on,” Bradshaw said. “I called them about the 120 hours of vacation pay they owe me. They told me that once they get their electric bill paid they’ll see what’s left.”

“There are rumors going around that Allied is trying to sell the plant,” Jonathan James said. “But that doesn’t mean anything different for us. We have no contract. They want us to give them big concessions and come back to work. We’re on this picket line until we get the contract we need.”

“This is what you look for in life, brotherhood, right out here on the line,” striker Randall Carnell said.

Messages of support and contributions can be sent to: Teamsters Local 89, 3813 Taylor Blvd., Louisville, KY 40215. Attn: Allied Ready Mix Strike. Email: