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Strike

Operating Engineers picket for ‘fair retirement’

Members of Operating Engineers Local 324 picket in front of Road Machinery & Supplies Co. in Negaunee on Monday. Twelve employees, who work in the service department of RMS as mechanics, have been in negotiations with the distributor of construction and mining equipment for nearly a year. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — Motorists traveling on U.S. 41 between Marquette and Negaunee may notice a group of picketers outside Road Machinery & Supplies Co. in Negaunee.

Members of Operating Engineers Local 324 are striking for a fair contract, union spokesman Matt Bourdage said.

Twelve union members, who are employed as mechanics in the service department at RMS, have been in negotiations with the local distributor of construction and mining equipment for over 10 months, he said.

“We are on strike until we get a contract,” Bourdage said. “We have been in pretty tough contract negotiations for, well, Aug. 1 will be a year now. So we have been working for almost a year without a contact and we want a contract with a fair retirement before we come back to work.”

When contacted on Monday afternoon, RMS officials declined to comment on the matter.

Members of the union will picket the business until a contract can be negotiated, Bourdage said.

“If members of any other union want to stand in solidarity with us and fight this fight, they are more than welcome,” he said.

According to its website, Operating Engineers 324 represents 14,000 individuals across Michigan who are employed in the construction trades as heavy equipment operators. The union’s members also include those involved in commercial and public building maintenance, bus drivers, hospital staff and hospitality workers.

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