On the Picket Line

IAM members strike for higher wages, better work schedules

By Linda Joyce
December 5, 2022

AMHERST, Ohio — Members of International Association of Machinists Local 1802 went on strike here against Nordson Industrial Coatings Systems Nov. 14 after soundly rejecting the company’s “last, best and final” offer. Their previous contract expired the day before. Over 130 workers are on strike. For the majority it’s the first time they’ve ever been on a picket line. Nordson Corporation employs over 7,500 workers worldwide. “We’re ready to sit down and talk. My members will stay one day longer than they will,” Local President Ron Adkins, who works as an electrician, told Channel 5 News.

In cold, bitter weather the strikers picket at every entrance to the plant, huddled around burn barrels. “We are fighting for the benefits we deserve,” Teresa Colon told the Militant. Fellow striker Rafi Ortero said, “We need better wages with the cost of living so high right now. We also need a decent health care plan.”

At another picket site, 25-year-old Elias Rodriguez, who has worked as a material handler for a year, said, “It was a big decision to come out here right before the holidays. We were fed up with the way we were being treated by management on all levels. This strike has really brought us together. I am proud to be part of a union.”

At all the picket sites strikers pointed to boxes of pizza that members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union from the nearby Federal Aviation Agency’s Oberlin center had brought by in solidarity. Supporters, retirees and representatives from other unions around the area have also brought hot coffee, donuts, hand warmers and much more to offer encouragement.

A statement issued by the union the day the strike began explained one key issue is the bosses’ demand to continue mandatory overtime, with workers required to work a minimum of 32 Saturdays a year, and pressured to work Sundays as well.

“We’re just looking for a work-life balance with overtime and being able to spend time with our families,” Adkins said.

The company has brought in scabs to work in the machine shop, and sent salaried workers onto the factory floor. Negotiations continue.

Messages of solidarity and contributions can be sent to IAM Local 1802, 4557 Blush Court, Lorain, Ohio, 44053.