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UAW Local 1832 Members Locked Out At Peterbilt in Madison, Tennessee
Text and Photos by UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis

On Monday, June 23, 2008 UAW Local 1832 members reported to work at Peterbilt in Madison, Tennessee and found themselves locked out. The gates were locked and the union members were denied entry to the workplace.

UAW officials have been negotiating a new contract with Peterbilt and negotiations had been continuing. However, representatives for Peterbilt decided to lock the union out of the facility.

When unions feel that contract negotiations are not progressing a strike can be called if the existing agreement has expired. In a lockout, the company decides to prevent the union members from working, even thought the union desires to continue negotiating and the keep their members at work.

Five years ago Peterbilt locked UAW Local 1832 members out on September 02, 2002 during contract negotiations and kept the union members locked out 10 months before they agreed to allow them to return. It had been hoped these contract negotiations would be more civil than the actions in 2002 as Local 1832 members suffered the pain of losing their income for an extended period of time.

“We are disappointed that Peterbilt has decided to lockout our members out again,” states UAW International Representative Mike Brown who has been working on the contract. “The UAW had every intention of allowing the collective bargaining process to work while keeping our members on the job. It is unfortunate that Peterbilt has decided to deny our members their constitutional right to the collective bargaining process and lock them out of their jobs. We are ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible to negotiate a settlement and get our members back to work. Until that happens, the UAW will use every resource available to protect these families and provide health care and basic income to avoid the type of hardships families usually feel during a loss of income.”

On Thursday June 26, 2008, UAW Region 8 sent two buses from their annual Summer School to support the locked out workers in the picket line. Over 100 union members stood outside the facility and conducted a peaceful demonstration against a corporation that has now locked their employees out for a second time in five years.

UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, Assistant Director Donny Bevis and UAW International Vice-President Bob King joined the locked out workers on the picket line. Passing traffic honked their horns in support of these working men and women who are being denied their right to collective bargaining and entry to their workplace.

 



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Ron Hendrix