Robert Hendrickson wasn’t working Wednesday morning, Sept. 19. He could have been home sleeping, out cutting his grass or chewing the fat in a coffee shop.
Instead, he was standing on a picket line at Roemer Industries in Masury, where members of United Steelworkers Local 1375 are on strike.
“To help my union brothers and sisters out,” Hendrickson said of why he was on the picket line. “They got a bum deal.”
Hendrickson works at NLMK in Farrell, where he is a member of USW Local 1016-03.
Roemer’s unionized workers went on strike Sept. 5. They have not had a contract since April 2016 and allege the company has committed unfair labor practices for wanting to make it an open shop.
Roemer unionized employee Kurt Wedge said a bargaining session was set for Wednesday afternoon.
“These guys, it’s not a monetary issue,” said Jesse Bassett of Hubbard Township, another NLMK worker. “It’s a principle.”
It’s issues like what the Roemer unionized employees are facing that show why unions are needed, Hendrickson said.
“If people would practice fair negotiations, we wouldn’t need unions,” he said.
You have to fight for what you have, or it will be taken away from you, Bassett said.
“The union’s very important,” Bassett said. “I grew up union. I believe in the principle we’re here for today.”
The union members said they also support their brothers and sisters at Cubbison Co. in Austintown, where the Teamsters went on strike Monday.