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Leaders in labor, Legislature to rally in Twin Cities behind striking construction workers

Rank and file employee’s eager to settle strike are poised to join tomorrow’s Public Rally at Cretex’s Shakopee Plant

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (Aug. 05, 2013) – To avoid further disruption to highway and sewer construction projects that are critical to the continued growth of the Twin Cities, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan will join state legislative leaders and union members for a rally at the Cretex plant in Shakopee, this Tuesday, in the hope of settling the six-week long strike. Cretex has so far refused to budge on devastating and unnecessary cuts to retirement benefits, while new reports of harassment and discrimination against Latino employees have surfaced.

STAND UP FOR CRETEX WORKERS RALLY

• Who: LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan, MN Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, MN House Speaker Paul Thissen and other community, labor and elected leaders

• Where: Cretex plant, 7070 Cretex Ave. S., Shakopee (Hwy. 101, near Raceway Park).

• When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m. ( Speakers & Rally Begins )

More information: Visit https://www.facebook.com/Local563WorkersOnStrike or Local 563’s website at http://www.liuna.org/local563.

O’Sullivan, who will be joined by Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, has been a leading voice in confronting corporate and political attacks on workers’ rights and the nation’s struggling middle class.

“These brave men and women, who are risking their jobs to protect the retirements that they have worked for their whole lives, are heroes to middle class families across America. Our half million members want Local 563 workers and every working family throughout Minnesota to know we have your backs. Fair pay and a secure retirement for an honest day’s work has made our country great for generations. So I’ll be calling on Cretex to make things right this Tuesday, so that all of us can get back to work.”

Since negotiations with Cretex broke down in June, workers like Rodrigo Zamorano have been sharing their stories. If Cretex gets away with their plan, his employee-funded pension benefits will be eliminated. Now, after working for eight years, he won’t be able to support his wife, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and kids. At a time when demand for construction materials is on the rise, the Cretex plan would effectively cut his compensation by 12- to 17-percent. Preview his story here - http://youtu.be/C8fJYJt8SaI

Cretex’s Shakopee workers manufacture manhole covers, sewer pipes and other concrete projects used in area construction projects. Since the strike began, the union has documented delays and other problems with deliveries, which have created headaches for contractors and disrupted work schedules.

Making matters worse for Cretex, 15 Latino members of Local 563 have courageously come forward to report their accounts of continued harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, filing civil rights charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). So, in addition to securing retirement benefits, members are looking hold their employer accountable for fair treatment.

“The general public has the right to hear how deplorable Cretex is being when it comes to the way they treat employees who have given decades of their lives to work there,” Local 563 business manager Tim Mackey said recently. “This type of treatment cannot be tolerated, and we have asked Cretex to return to the table immediately to discuss contract language that protects all of our members from discrimination, harassment, and intimidation.”

EVENT LOGISTICS, DIRECTIONS & PARKING

There is construction work on Highway 169 that working media will want to avoid to ensure timely arrival for the rally. The best option from St. Paul or Minneapolis is to head south on Interstate 35W to westbound Hwy. 13. That will soon lead to Hwy. 101 and nearby Raceway Park. Click here for a quick map: http://bit.ly/1ce74kg.

Media members can either park at Raceway Park and ride a golf cart shuttle to the rally or in a reserved area at the rally. Organizers will be waiting for media to provide assistance.

About Local 563

Local 563 represents nearly 5,000 skilled construction craft laborers who are trained in many facets of the construction industry. These laborers apply their trade in 32 counties in Minnesota and in North Dakota. Local 563 is affiliated with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), based in Washington, D.C. More info go to https://www.facebook.com/Local563WorkersOnStrike or Local 563’s website at http://www.liuna.org/local563

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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