LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Driving down East Chestnut Street Aug. 21, we could hear a steady stream of honking cars, expressing solidarity with members of Teamsters Local 89 on strike at DSI Tunneling for a contract. The unionists walked out Aug. 4.
DSI, which operates in 70 countries worldwide, manufactures steel beams and girders for tunneling and mining operations. It’s owned by Triton, an international investment operation. “We focus on companies with the potential to create sustainable, long-term value,” the company boasts on its website.
The workers won a bitter fight last November to win union representation, and then began negotiating for their first contract. But bosses brought in an anti-union law firm to run the negotiations, the same firm they used to try and block the union. Their lawyers stalled, and the company refused to allow workers on the negotiating committee to take time off work, so the meetings took place after they had worked a 10- or 12-hour shift. After months of this, the unionists voted unanimously to strike.
The bosses’ lawyers are from National Labor Relations Advocates, which says its specialty is “union avoidance.”
“The major thing is sticking together. The one worker who crossed the line doesn’t realize we’re doing this for everyone,” Jimmy Koloe, a 33-year-old striker, told the Militant on the picket line. “The most important thing is just getting a contract,” striker Ted Franzman said. “They’ve taken so much from us, we need to stop them from taking more.”
Send contributions and messages of solidarity to Teamsters Local 89, 3813 Taylor Blvd., Louisville KY 40215.