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Local 563 Takes to the Air to Inform the Public of the Fight they are Waging Against Cretex for Retirement Benefits

Twin Cities’ radio listeners will soon hear about the personal impact cutting 80 percent of retirement benefits would have on striking workers

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (June 26, 2013) – Three Twin Cities radio stations are set to air advertisements produced by Laborers Local 563 in response to Elk River-based Cretex plan to cut employee retirement benefits by 80 percent. The advertisements, slated to air soon on KSTP AM 1500-ESPN, AM 950 KTNF and BOB 106 FM, will inform listeners of the below-the-belt tactics of Cretex.

More than 40 construction craft laborers of Local 563 have been on the picket lines since Wednesday, June 19, after negotiations between the union workers at the company’s Shakopee facility and management broke down. Workers at the Shakopee facility have been working without a contract since December 31, 2012.

Negotiations broke down on June 18, when Cretex failed to budge from its unreasonable demand to eliminate pension contributions and slash workers’ retirement package by roughly 80 percent. Under the company’s proposal, employees would see hourly compensation (wage plus retirement contribution) drop by anywhere from $2.91 and $4.07 in 2013 depending on an employee’s age and the amount he or she puts into the company’s 401(k) plan. Simply put that’s the equivalent of a 12- to 17-percent pay cut at a time when demand for construction materials is on the rise.

“This radio campaign is designed to inform the public of how a Minnesota company is giving its faithful employees a slap in the face by taking away the retirement benefits our members funded with their own money,” said Tim Mackey, business manager for Twin Cities-based Local 563 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “Our members had no other choice when their livelihoods were threatened by the greed of Cretex. The general public has the right to hear how deplorable Cretex is being when it comes to the way they treat employees who having given decades of their lives to work there.”

Mackey said he hopes the ads, which feature the words of striking workers will help put a human element on this strike. “We are standing up for what is fair. To take away a pension program that many of our members have planned on being there when they retire is just wrong and reeks of corporate greed,” he said. “We will do whatever it takes to make our stance known. These radio spots are just the start. We are ready for the long haul and we are confident we will come out on top.”

Members of Local 563 will remain on the picket line located at 7070 Cretex Avenue South, in Shakopee until the company is willing to negotiate in a respectable manner. “We hope people listen to these ads and realize what is going on in their own backyards,” said Mackey. “All of Minnesota should be embarrassed that a hometown company is willing go as low as taking away retirement plans that rightfully belong to the workers who have done all that is asked of them on the job.”

About Local 563

Local 563 represents nearly 5,000 skilled construction craft laborers that are trained in many facets of the construction industry. These laborers apply their trade in 32 counties in Minnesota and the state of North Dakota. Local 563 is affiliated with Laborers’ International Union of North America LIUNA, based in Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit the strike Facebook page at or Local 563’s website at

About Cretex Companies, Inc.

Cretex, established in 1917, is a privately held, diversified manufacturing company headquartered in Elk River , Minnesota. Cretex Concrete Products provides reinforced concrete pipe and other precast and prestressed concrete products serving the infrastructure needs of the central United States . Cretex Companies employs about 1,800 people in 35 locations in 11 states.


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