Bemis Union Workers vote STRIKE – You freak’en crazy

16 07 2009

Terre Haute, IN  – Workers at Bemis voted to strike cause their upset over the planned “Health Risk Assessment” employees must participate.   Labor Relations Board feels the company failed to bargin in good faith.

Why can’t someone picket / strike / the INSURANCE COMPANY that is behind this whole thing?   Convince me the agent DIDN”T tell the company where to save money?   The truth, they would rather insure clients that DON”T use Health Care Benefits.  

But just the concept, regardless what the hell is going on, of Striking in this ecomony is this side of plain nuts.   Why don’t you people take a 200 mile drive NorthEast to Elkhart and get a real taste what BEING OUT OF WORK DOES FOR A COMMUNITY.

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65 responses

21 07 2009
Kelley

Well, my comment to you is you have NO clue what is actualy going on here. Let me give you the whole scoop because i work there. The HRA’s is a very small fraction of this. Besides the point that Bemis is self insured, they would have the right to draw blood from my son, who is 3 years old. Nobody wants that.
Now, on the rest of the subjects, where do i start? This is a union shop (1426) and they want the rights to bring in a temp service, who will NOT be union, in to our factory to take away all the overtime that one quarter of us work. They want to bring in about 10% of our work force (73 temps) to cut the overtime and to help with the vacation problem that they will not deal with the union about. I don’t want to strike just like the next guy, but as in the past, we gave them an inch and they took miles.
The proposed contract will give them the right to raise our out of pocket deductable, co-pay and dental at there will,as they see fit.
As far as the economy goes, look up Bemis aquires Alcan on youtube. The C.E.O says that Bemis is growing even in this economy. They control 70% of the food packaging market. That makes them as big as Walmart. Look up the public records. They made BILLIONS this last year. The c.e.o took a 37% pay increase which was a half a BILLION dollars (hear say). They want to give us a .42 cent raise and raise our insurance so much that will will lose money next year compared to this year. I don’t like the idea of knowing that i have to pay them just to go to work next year. (Thus the self insured part) And in the mean time, they have temps learning how to run my machine for a fraction of the wages and no insurance so i can be out of a job come at the end of this 3 year contract. So, just alittle more info for you before you start running your mouth about something you have no clue about!!!

21 07 2009
John Feeney

Kelly,

I do appreciate your feedback. Your points are well noted. The actions pointed out reflects the continual approach manufacturing companies have adopted for some time. There is a total mis-conception of what is happening to the American workforce. And this is a prime example. As far as clueless, I’m not. The purpose was to bring forward posting like yours that have front line exposer to what the real issues are. The price of health care is being funneled down the food chain and the worker is again holding the burden.

Temporary workers may look good on paper, but overall has far deeper effects. We’re seeing the effect “Large” businesses have on it’s organization. Union’s have been given a “Bad” rap over the years, but this is a prime example where it is the last resort for those (like yourself) can have a voice in curving the tactics used.

22 07 2009
Kelley

Feeney,
Thank you so much for you response. I would like to tell everyone in Terre Haute, Indiana to support the local 1426 in this decision. As i stated before, nobody wants a strike. Its not good for either side of the line. I just got in from walking in front of the building for 8 hrs, all night long, with 40 other dedicated union members. This went very well for us. At 11:00pm a united start took place with about 400 to 450 people who showed up to kick this off. This is the strongest I have seen this union and I have been a member for 10 years. Bemis has hired Clark security out of Evansville to gaurd all entrances. This company specializes in this area. I have been told that Brian Wells, the plant manager, has personal security at his house from a Clay County police officer. Bemis also bussed in all managment personal at 7:00am. We were told that one union member was on that bus. We know his name, but I will not type it here. people need to understand that once you become a scab and cross that line, your job will not be safe. Many of the unions E-board has told me that when they start to negotiate again, one of the first things they want is for the scabs to be fired upon our return. This man has over 10 years in at Bemis. That will be a shame to see him and his family suffer. I have talked a few good guys out of crossing the line this last week. Members need to know that they can get a range of help from agancies in the area. Call all creditors as soon as possible to work on a plan. I dont expect this to last very long. We are skilled labor. Management assumes they can come in and run this equipment thereselves to hold them over. They will find out how skilled we are when they can not run this to save there jobs. (figure of speech) To all Local 1426, may God be with you and your familys during this rough time. We will all be ok when this is done. Please show your support for us TERRE HAUTE!!!

22 07 2009
John Feeney

If there is a site readers can link to and support your effort by all means post it.

22 07 2009
Cassidy Evans-Rike

This is why the majority of people don’t trust unions. Threatening other workers, scaring managers so severely that they have hired guards out of their own pockets?

Perhaps some of you can afford to be without a check for weeks on end, but I’d bet those who crossed the lines don’t have that luxury. And any ‘agency’ who helps those picketing instead of working when they HAVE a job in this economy should be investigated for misuse of taxpayer funds. It’s people misusing the system who run the services dry so those who need them are turned away.

Grow up. You have a job. So the benefits suck. So they are bringing in new people through the temporary services and training them and giving them a pay check. Millions of good people don’t have a job, or have one with no benefits. By the time people turn to the temp services to look for work, they are usually on their last dime and need that job to provide for their families. You should be thrilled they are working and not sitting at home living off your tax dollars.

22 07 2009
John Feeney

Thanks for signing in….

Yes, there are two sides to each story. I agree with your analogy of “temporary” services, which is why many companies do take advantage of the situation. It is hard to talk about bad food with straving people. I have a problem when we label those that put their families first, “scabs”. And if the Union’s first order of business is to “fire” those that don’t support their cause, one should question the priority list.

Health Care is an issue that shows no end in sight. Considering what Congress did to the “Green” Initative Bill, it causes me blinding headaches what will happen when the smoke clears on this purposed Health Care Plan. Hospitals will be lining up for bail-out money.

22 07 2009
Joe

Put some thought into this none of us wanted to strike, but if you let companies keep going the way they are going. Where the raises they give you don’t even meet what the cost of living each year. Plus keep raising our insurance the way they are it going to end up like the way the depression. Where companies will pay there employs practicly nothing while they are making billions. Let these corp execitives live on what they want us to live on.

22 07 2009
John Feeney

Thanks for signing in Joe,

Health Insurance Cost(s) are putting alot of people in a pickle. What was once a benefit, is now optional and not by choice. These companies loyalities are to Stock Holders not the “company” which is the People. I have no problem with Corp Execitives making dream like salaries and bonuses that’s their fortune. However, when these bonuses are based on dividend returns / profit strength because of cost cutting measures to make the identy look better on paper. It generally means wages or man-power was the first axe to fall.

Though there are skeptics, an agressive approach to fighting Health Care Cost(s) needs to come from the Industry itself. Open competition is the only way to create a fair market value that is by far way out of control. Many stand on their pulpets forecasting the end of civilization as we know it with universal health care. To date, no country I’m aware has gone under.

The distant between the Haves & Have Not is growing, Health Care should not be part of that equation.

22 07 2009
Cassidy Evans-Rike

I have put alot of thought into this. My father and grandfather were both union men, one in automotives and the other with the food & commercial workers local in Indianapolis for over forty years. The UFCW went on strike in the early 80s and my dad took me to the store he worked at, I sat and watched the picketing and the conversations that took place. No threats were made against anyone, and those who felt they had to cross the line upset people but no one demanded their head on a platter.

I feel for you in a lot of ways. I hate my job. I would love to be able to protest the unfair treatment, the change to the crappiest insurance I’ve seen. But instead I am simply thankful to have job and be able to provide for my family. We won’t be jetting off to the islands anytime soon, but we have a roof, shelter and the rest of our basic needs met. That’s a far better position than alot of people are in right now.

I guess it comes down to this- If you didn’t have the union paying you the wages you would be earning if you were working, and the union contracts with Bemis preventing them from firing you while you walk around out front chatting and chanting, would you still have walked off the job? I’ll hazard a guess that you would not, as you probably have bills to pay just the same as everyone else. The temps filling your position have families to feed and bills to pay as well. I’m sure they’re not thrilled to be making minimum wage doing the same work you make more than twice that for. But they are thankful to have the work and are willing to put up with the comments and threats coming from the picket line in order to provide for their families.

22 07 2009
John Feeney

Tolerance is a challenge. Having to choose between a Picket Line or your families needs is an untold stress, no-one benefits from. And yes, let’s not forget the temps. Getting cut-rate because that is all that’s available needs to be commended. Doing what is necessary at times is not always a popular choice. Rising above this has always been the main goal. Knowing that opportunity window is getting smaller each day lessens the dreams and hopes for our next generation. Why would anyone want to pursue a career in manufacturing? And yet these same manufacturing groups complain about the limited skilled work-force.

Thanks again Cassidy..

22 07 2009
AL

FIRST TO REPLY TO THE HILARIOUS MISQUOTES OF KELLY. BEMIS ,COMPANY WIDE IN 2008, HAD TOTAL SALES OF 3.2 BILLION DOLLARS OF WHICH THEY HAD 160 MILLION IN PROFIT DOWN FROM 180 MILLION DUE TO HIGH OIL RELATED PRICES MAINLY. INTERESTINGLY WITH 160 MILLION IN PROFIT IN 2008 THEY SPENT 21 MILLION IN 2007 PUTTING IN NEW STATE OF THE ART EQUIPMENT AND CREATING 29 NEW JOBS AT YOUR FACILITY. GOOD THING BEMIS DOESNT CARE ABOUT YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS. MR. THEISEN (THE CEO) HAD A TOTAL COMPENSATION PACKAGE IN 2008 OF 2.9 MILLION DOLLARS A FAR CRY FROM HALF A BILLION DOLLARS. ALTHOUGH THIS MAY SEEM EXCESSIVE TO SOMEONE MAKING HOURLY WAGES ONE MUST APPRECIATE THE FACT HE IS THE CEO OF A COMPANY THAT IS MADE UP OF 61 FACILITIES AND 15000 PEOPLE. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HIS WAGES ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF WHAT A WEAK HITTING SECOND BASEMAN MAKES IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. SECONDLY WHEN DISCUSSING THE HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT YOU MUST CONSIDER THE REASON FOR IT. ITS HARDLY TO BE ABLE TO STICK NEEDLES IN 3 YEAR OLD BABIES RATHER TO DETERMINE AN EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF POSSIBLE MEDICAL PROBLEMS. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND DIABETES COME IMMEDIATELY TO MIND AS THOSE ARE THE MOST LIKELY. WHAT DOES THIS DO YOU MAY ASK? EARLY TREATMENT KEEPS YOU HEALTHIER AND LOWERS HEALTH CARE COSTS WHICH IN TURN LOWERS PREMIUMS SO IT IS ADVANTAGEOUS ON MULTIPLE FRONTS TO YOU. FINALLY , OF COURSE I DON’T KNOW THE EXACT REASON FOR THE TEMP HIRING, BUT BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED VACATIONS I’LL ASSUME YOU HAVE PERIODS OF VACATION DURING THE YEAR WHEN NOT ALL VACATION IS COVERED. THIS OF COURSE MEANS YOU DO NOT HAVE MANDATORY OVERTIME TO COVER THESE VACATIONS . ARE YOU WILLING TO GO THAT ROUTE? DOES THE HIRING OF TEMPS MEAN YOUR NOT GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO COVER OVERTIME OR DOES IT HELP ASSURE THAT PRODUCT GETS TO YOUR CUSTOMERS ON TIME TO KEEP THEM HAPPY AND COMING BACK SO YOUR JOB IS MORE SECURE?

23 07 2009
John Feeney

Thanks Al for coming for the other point view.

As mentioned before, I have no problem with Mr Theisen’s compensation package. The task of 61 facilities and 15k+ people needs the leadership and fore-sight skill of special people. Many do have a hard time seeing past the $$$’s, but totally are unaware of the stress and demands and long hours these positions have. It is not a 8 to 5 job with weekends / holidays free.

Mandatory Overtime – nice reflection. Preventive Medical action on the part of each individual – living a healther life take a commitment.

Yes, it is always overlooked when a company does take it’s profit, upgrades equipment (competition demands it) and still create new jobs.

23 07 2009
Kelley

Al, You have to understand that we are talking about Bemis here. Past practice has shown that if you let them get there foot in the door, your scrwed! It has been that way since I have been there.(12 years) Ask any old timer who has 30 or 40 years in and they will tell you the same. And most of them are still working there because the retirement sucks so bad that they have to work till they die. I have been there 12 years and I’m only 30 years old. I’m not upset over the money or even the retirement. They would like to give us “Life Coaches” to help us with our health issues that they find thru taking our blood. If we decline or do not do as they say, we may lose our insurance totally. Have that over your head if high chorlestrol runs in the family. Yes, I want to be a health employee but where does it stop?
Cassidy, the union is not paying our wages while we are out. We recieve picket pay of $125.00 per week only if we picket. That does NOT start until we have been out and picketing for 2 weeks. I live over a half an hour away and have been there as much as possible. Other than typing on here, or sleeping whatever hours I can, I have been trying to help. My wife even said she has not seen me enough. This takes a toll on someone. I just hate to have to expline myself. Everyone is titled to an opinion. Also, Bemis has been a CLOSED union shop for 52 years. Tell those temps to go down the road and get a job at sony. WE DO NOT WANT THEM!!!!

23 07 2009
John Feeney

Thanks, Kelley

We have to give space to those supporting the UNION cause. Your correct in challenging the way Health Insurance is administered or in this case addressing a “WAY OUT” for the “INSURANCE PROVIDER”. Providing insurance coverage for healthy people that don’t use it. Great.

Let’s not overlook, striking is not profitable for anyone…$125 doesn’t even pay for the gas…

23 07 2009
AL

KELLEY WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT A FREE CONFIDENTIAL ANNUAL HEALTH CHECK UP IF HIGH CHOLESTEROL RUNS IN YOUR FAMILY? AGAIN IF YOU TREAT MEDICAL ISSUES EARLY IT IS SAFER AND CHEAPER FOR YOU IN THE LONG RUN. AS YOU SAID BEFORE BEMIS PAYS THE BILLS WHY WOULD THEY NOT WANT TO PAY LESS HEALTHE COSTS AND HAVE YOU HEALTHIER (AT WORK MORE). OF COURSE IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO WALK AROUND UNKNOWING UNTIL YOU DROP FROM A CLOGGED ARTERY SO ENJOY THE PICKET LINE.

JOHN, THE ONLY QUESTION OF INSURANCE COVERAGE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU ACCEPT THE CONFIDENTIAL, (BEMIS DOESN’T GET THE RESULTS ITS BETWEEN THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND THE INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE), HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT.

23 07 2009
John Feeney

Al,

The issue of a pre-existing condition is getting higher on the flag pole. This Health Risk Assessment “survey” brings this forefront. Considering the increase in Cholesterol / Blood Pressure cases, (the number of people with these conditions) it just cements a providers “way-out” in accepting coverage. Even if you bring these conditions under control without prescriptions, it is still considered a condition you never really get rid of. The jest of my point is the anger should be focused on the Provider an not BEMIS. I have yet see a UNION picket any of these people. Why? Because they (UNION) already know nothing will happen. They (Providers) are basically shielded from this approach, falling on the side of “Go some place else”

23 07 2009
Kelley

Bemis is the health care provider. They are self insured. This means they pay for all health cost out of pocket. That also means they can get the results of our tests. Do you think that kersh wellnes (people admin. the test) will tell Bemis no to the results. Look at kersh’s track record. Not too good. Last year they brought in some real winners for nurses. They couldn’t get the juice from a watermelon with a knife, let alone blood thru a needle. You should here the stories.

23 07 2009
Kelley

Don’t forget that that contract for the insurance was open ended. This means that if we have a co-pay of $20.00 now, it could be $50 or even a $100 tomarrow. The out of pocket is $1000 now but what will it be tomarrow? Thats it, nobody knows. They need to lock this in. I could be paying the 80% if this was signed. Then it would be like not having insurance at all. It was just too open ended for me. It is a contract of agreements between the 2 parties with no specifics. Someone said it was like going to get a new car and after you bought it they asked you if you wanted seats and tires with it for an extra charge.

23 07 2009
John Feeney

Kelley,
what you’re trying to bring to light – BEMIS IS working a program with the provider to lower “THEIR” cost by having an contract that has no ceiling on “Out of pocket Expenses” or the famous “Deductable”.

As for Kersh Wellness – other sources have told me they are part of growing number of 3rd party service providers to the Health Care Industry promoting SELF HELP Health Issues or Education to a better healther Life style. I have also heard both sides of the argument of whether the information is “shared” or Not with employer.

23 07 2009
AL

KELLEY YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE CONFIDENTIAL DOES NOT MEAN CONFIDENTIAL WITH THAT I CAN’T HELP YOU WITH. AGAIN ENJOY THE PICKET LINE.
JOHN AS KELLEY SAYS BEMIS IS THE PROVIDER FOR COSTS. BEMIS PAYS KERSH TO HELP PROVIDE THEM WITH A HEALTHIER WORK FORCE BY IDENTIFYING PROBLEMS EARLY.THIS MEANS THEIR MOST VALUABLE ASSET IS WORKING AND IN GOOD CONDITION. THIS , IN TURN, REDUCES COSTS FOR BEMIS BY NOT HAVING TO PAY AS MANY SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUE COSTS. IT ALSO MEANS HEALTHIER PEOPLE WILL BE AT WORK THUS ALLOWING PRODUCT OUT THE DOOR ON TIME TO THE CUSTOMER WHICH IN TURN MAKES EVERYONE’S JOB MORE SECURE. BASICALLY IT AMOUNTS TO A REQUIRED TRIP TO THE DOCTOR ONCE A YEAR .
AS EVERYONE KNOWS THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY IS OUT OF CONTROL AS FAR AS COSTS GO. A HEALTHIER WORK FORCE LIMITS THE AMOUNT COSTS GO UP

31 07 2009
BIRTHDAY

I BET YOU WORK FOR BEMIS. STATE YOU EMPLOYMENT.

31 08 2011
Bob

Who cares if he does? It doesn’t invalidate his arguments.

23 07 2009
Ajak

Most valuable asset????prove it. That attitude isnt noticable from a workers perspective.Enjoy your time on a production line!!!

24 07 2009
John Feeney

Kind of lost your thought path here…

23 07 2009
Cassidy Evans-Rike

I guess I’m left wondering what all of you will do if Bemis buys a clue and shuts down the plant? As has been posted elsewhere {namely wthr, indystar et al} they have other facilities they can easily move your jobs to. Will you continue to be anti-temporary work when it’s you who are facing the decision of working through the temp service or not having a home or food?

I drove down through the area today on my way to visit a client and was sickened by the behavior I witnessed. Slurs and swear words, blocking the road view of persons leaving the parking lot? And this was just in the five minutes or so it took to get from the Ft Harrison light to the high school. {caused by the amount of people slowing down to gawk, which is a traffic hazard the union should be cited for}

I don’t know what makes me more irritated with the things I witnessed and the ones I’ve been hearing about the last few days, the fact that those of you on the picket act that way and call yourselves the more mature in the situation, or the fact that my clients income tax dollars are funding a school that is backing you and inferring to the students in the process that this behavior {the swearing, threats, blocking traffic etc.} is appropriate.

If you don’t like the company health insurance, opt out. They can not legally require you to accept it. Buy private insurance, it may well stand you in better stead if Obamasurance comes to pass. According to the tribune the average entry level Bemis employee makes $17 not counting benefits. So those of you saying you’ve been there 10 plus years are making at least 2-3x that straight time if you’re as good at your jobs as you say here. That’s plenty of money to live within your means and afford decent private insurance. Or if you can’t handle it, quit Bemis and go to another shop you agree with the practices of. So what if you have to start at the bottom and work your way up all over again, right? It’s all about the principal of the matter, not having to work next to people more interetsted in putting food on the table than abandoning their job and demanding sympathy for it, and following that brilliant move with the behavior witnessed and reported coming from the picket lines.

24 07 2009
John Feeney

The situation will fore-ever change BEMIS and it’s employees well into the future, regardless of the out-come.

24 07 2009
loaner

I’m a Bemis employee, and though I have mixed feelings about all of this I do have concerns with Cassidy’s comments regarding the behavior at the picket line. If things are as Cassidy has stated this type of behavior is unpalatable and needs to cease immediately! Not only is the above mentioned acts immature, they are an embarrassment to those of us with a little more respect for the public and the community. If I personally witness such behavior I will not hesitate to make a phone call and ask that you be removed from the line.

Cassidy – The tribune is misleading in their report of entry level wages. I have been working for Bemis for well over ten years and I make the top level pay in my position which is 18.51. I also agree that there are many people who would be willing to work as a temporary employee for Bemis; however, that doesn’t make Bemis’ take on the position acceptable. Even if I were not a Bemis employee I would have a difficult time in not believing that any company who utilizes temporary employees in large quantities is doing nothing more than taking advantage of desperate people. As a society we have become desperate to provide an income for ourselves and our families. However, we all should agree that there is more to providing for ones family than a paycheck. It seems immoral that Bemis would provide affordable health care to it’s employees, but yet offer no benefits or livable wage to the 75 temporary people it desires to higher. Let’s be realistic there is nothing positive about being a temporary employee for any company, much less to one that states to you from the start that they will not hire you as a full-time employee. If Bemis wishes to hire 75 temps. then why do they not just initially try hiring half as many as full-time employees? The roughly 37 full-time employees would be better served and more of an asset to the community, their families and the company.

Its my understanding that Union Hospital utilizes temporary employees and some have been listed as temporary for well over a year and are still receiving no benefits. This doesn’t sound too temporary to me and has to be disheartening and counterproductive to the employees who fall inside this classification. This may not affect the majority of us directly but, how can we find this type of action morally acceptable?

The economic difficulties this country is facing are far too numerous to mention: I do honestly believe though that If you are willing to work you should be able to afford health-care, purchase a home, afford all the bills that come along with home ownership, and provide the necessities that are needed to live without any outside aide. This is no longer possible for many people in our community and the cycle repeats itself in many communities throughout the nation. We are no longer a rich country surrounded by a stable middle class, instead we are a rich country inside of a poor one. When working people have to sacrifice food for fuel or both for prescription medicines, there is a serious problem. Personally, if the Terre Haute area doesn’t change it’s pattern of only being able to attract low paying jobs, I predict that it will suffer the same demise as Detroit, just on a smaller scale. The deeper question is what can be done about it?

I apologize to anyone who has or may in the future experience the type of behavior Cassidy has mentioned by Union members walking on the picket line. This is certainly not the typical behavior I would come to expect, and certainly nothing I would deem acceptable. Sadly, like in almost any community across the country there are those that have questionable character and there are those that have a lot of respect for themselves and their communities. Those that are caring out the unacceptable behavior fall into the former category and do not reflect upon the typical character I have witnessed during my several years of employment.

I’m not seeking sympathy nor even a reply comment: I’m longing for a day where every American who is willing to work is paid the best wages a company can provide while still maintaining profitability. A day where access to excellent and affordable health care becomes the norm. A day where a twenty thousand dollar investment in a college education almost guarantees you a job that will provide a livable wage. Until then I will continue to watch the middle class decline until finally it ceases to exist. Then I will ask myself what could we as a Nation have done differently and why have we as a working middle class accepted things the way they were.

24 07 2009
John Feeney

Thanks for putting some time into this thread – Loaner

Temporary workers are human beings that in some cases just need an opportunity. True, knowing the end result prior to completion can be dis-hearting. But I’m in total agreement over the actions reported walking the line. You have to draw a line of tollerance somewhere. Believing these type of rude actions are going to have an effect on your cause is correct, just be prepared for the result.

24 07 2009
Cassidy Evans-Rike

I totally agree that temp labor agencies and the companies who use them are taking advantage of people who have exhausted all other avenues of making a living for their families. My best friend and I are massage therapists. We co-own and operate an on-site massage company in addition to working for chain massage operations. Part of the reason we have to work part time for the chains, which are rather much the ‘temp labor’ of our profession, is because of the decline in decent paying jobs in our state. People making $7.50 – $9.00 an hour {current wages listed on employment plus’ site for Terre Haute and other Indiana cities for factory work} can not afford the ‘normal’ massage rates, which trade magazines and spa journals list as $65/hr in Indiana, and up to $120/hr in Illinois. So places like Massage Envy, Elements, and Zen are opening in almost all decent sized cities in the area, charging clients $40 an hour no matter what type of massage is requested, and paying the therapist $15 an hour. This is almost the same difference percentage wise as the difference between the temp labor going rate in Terre Haute and what loaner stated well-established employees at Bemis are paid.

As for the behavior I stated I witnessed, the same behavior is happening blatantly in the piece shown on WTHI last night. For whatever reason, they are not showing the full taping on their website. I am strongly considering taking a small handicam with me on my next outcall day in Terre Haute and recording what I see. I pass Bemis on average 2-4x, sometimes more depending on which clients are booked for that day in which time slots.

All in all, I support the basic core of what the employees are striking over. I purchased private health insurance as soon as I was financially able because the policy at my coprorate employer is much like the one Bemis is offering. They charge more or less than a set rate depending on your risk factors, pre-existing conditions, etc and those of the people you add to your policy. They reserve the right to change carriers, rates, even if the insurance is a pre or post tax deduction, based on their whims. In my temp labor days I took advantage of the reduced fee scale clinics, physicians and other services available in the area and applied for and recieved a charity payment on a hospitalization. What I don’t support is the statement the strike makes to those earning less, especially to the temp labor market who are doing what they have to do to put food on the table. It looks like the Bemis employees are saying ‘hey look at us, we can throw a profanity laced fit and still get paid, and btw, we’re better than those of you making peanuts for the same job. We want you out of here and back on the welfare rolls and food bank lines NOW or else.’ I don’t support the threats made to the temps, to those who can’t survive on the $125 a week another poster said the union is paying for those who show up to picket, and thus must cross the line, the threats to managment and staff at Bemis, and the blocking/interfering with the flow of traffic and that sort of thing. I also have a problem with the use of the high school parking lot by the strikers exhibiting this behavior.

If it weren’t for the behavior we were told about by our friends and clients and then what we witnessed ourselves yesterday, we had actually talked about offering chair massage on-site at North Vigo to the strikers to show our support for the fight for fair wages. We don’t agree with walking off the job when there are millions who are out of options and would kill to do your jobs at any pay rate at all, but we do agree with the principle. It’s the vulgar behavior and the overall tone of the strike we can’t stomach.

24 07 2009
John Feeney

GET THE VIDEO !!

24 07 2009
loaner

Actually, I agree with John about the video. We can all agree to disagree to the reasons behind the current strike but, certainly the majority of us – Bemis employees included – can agree that inappropriate behavior is certainly not tolerable.

Personally, for me the current strike goes far beyond Bemis. For several years now I have consistently watched decent paying jobs leave this country only to be replaced by much lower paying jobs. Corporations, union or not, salary and hourly employed alike get beat down from retirement benefits to wages, all while the cost of living continues to outpace wage increases by a large margin. I need not mention health care we are all aware of this crisis. Locally, I know several people who have been working for the same company for many years and yet their pay has remained stagnant. Sadly, I even know some who in order to have health coverage their portion of the tab is equal to 20% of their weekly take home pay and these are people who are making less than $10.00phr

I cannot complain about the wages Bemis provides, nor can I complain about the portion of my insurance I must pay weekly. I won’t complain about the wellness exam I must complete yearly in order to retain my coverage for the following year. I question what Bemis may use the information it receives regarding the exams for, and credentials of those utilizing the needles, but I do not mind knowing my current health status. After all, insurance is a privilege and Bemis pays the majority of the bill. The way it is currently set-up we take a yearly exam and in a few weeks we get a confidential report mailed to us containing our current health risk assessment. Bemis then receives a report containing the overall average health of it’s employees. I do wonder if the report that Bemis receives is just for informational purposes or for something worse and undisclosed.

John- I do agree that some people just need a chance, and I truly feel sorry for the numerous people who are willing to work in society that struggle everyday and I wish I could employee them all; however, once again, to take it beyond Bemis, I’m constantly asking myself why are people who are willing to work made to struggle in order to find decent employment and health benefits, and why are our politicians seemingly unwilling to combat the problem. We do not need stimulus money, we need jobs. The other potential motive behind the use of temporary workers, beyond the obvious, is an article I’m certain I read somewhere in regards to companies that have a history of laying off workers could possibly pay more in taxes. Bemis has a recent history of laying off workers and I’m wondering if this could partly be their motive behind the temporary workers. Please do not quote me on this as a Google search failed to turn up anything in order to substantiate my claim. I only posted the tax claim in hopes that maybe you had also read it.

Regarding threats that are being directed towards those that are crossing the picket line. Well, though I may not be crossing the line, I certainly would before I allowed my home to be foreclosed on and since we lost our insurance coverage the day the strike began if I had a spouse or child who has an existing medical condition I wouldn’t have initially left work. Thankfully I do not fall into either category and will allow this to play out until there is a ruling; however, I see no reason for there to be any animosity towards those that choose to work – its their right and for anyone to believe otherwise is an act of lunacy. Just the same Bemis has a loyalty to it’s shareholders to remain profitable and to it’s customers to ensure a timely product delivery and if this means they must utilize temporary workers and management personnel to satisfy this until there is a resolution then that, too, is their right.

I’m glad that I found this thread and I will continue to follow it. Regardless of the ruling, I would be pleased if this strike were to carry no borders and instead cause other companies in my immediate area to evaluate their own business practices and morals. Their loyalties will always reside with the shareholders, but most of them can still do far better than they’re currently willing to do and still remain profitable. Capitalism is still the best bet, but it shouldn’t come with the elimination of the middle class. Give people a chance by paying them a livable wage!

31 07 2009
BIRTHDAY

BOY JOHN YOU DO A LOT OF TALKING BUT YOUR NOT TELLING PEOPLE WHO YOU WORK FOR PLEASE DO SO THEY UNDERSTAND. I WORK AT THE BEMIS TERRE HAUTE PLANT .

31 07 2009
John Feeney

No, I do not work for Bemis or have any affiliation with the organization or Union for that matter. The overall issues surrounding this event needed to come forward on a larger scale outside of Indiana.

The State of Indiana’s Unemployment rate is rising. Elkhart, IN at one point broke 18%. The stress of just hanging on to what ever employment you may currently have also gives rise too challenges in what companies or organizations go through.

Health Insurance is a National Issue currently, the Bemis situation is a classic example. Parties from both sides of the fence have had the opportunity to weight-in their thoughts and comments (WITHOUT EDITING).

Now if you care to raise your concerns or opinion in an orderly fashion feel free. I would first suggest you come out from behind your Cyber name (Birthday) and identify yourself before you attempt to call-out others. If not, rant away at which point you would carry no creditible weight with this author.

27 07 2009
A good person

In this economy why would the workers be striking unless it was a big deal. And duh it is. To all the workers that are crossing the picket line to take the jobs temporarily for the strikers shame on you.

28 07 2009
non union

Who’s training these temp workers? I work at a non-union Bemis owned plant so I know you can’t just walk off the street and operate a machine. It takes months in some cases years to learn how to run a press, extruder, slitter, laminator, or bag machine. What’s the quality of the product going to be that we’re sending to customers.
It shouldn’t be that hard to agree on terms. Workers need to accept the Wellness policy. We’ve had Kersh coming in to our facility for several years. It works well, no problems. Bemis needs to lock in a co-pay and deductable and max annual premium increase. Workers shouldn’t expect a large raise in pay. You have a good paying job. You guys in the union make several dollars more per hour than us for the same exact job. Be happy with what you’re getting. I only get $16/hr after 9 years. I know you guys get much more. You guys make ~$50K/yr in one of the lowest cost areas in the country. Don’t get greedy. Don’t let Bemis walk all over you, but don’t be greedy.

29 07 2009
John Feeney

Appreciate your participation from another BEMIS location.

Your concern of “Quality” in Bemis products sent to customers by workers that may not have the experience needed to apply Bemis Quality is something every worker should be concerned with. That in itself will determine any future.

Was wondering when other Bemis employees would sign in…..thanks

29 07 2009
AL

I’ve been following this situation on this and other blogs. I’ve seen lies , class envy, and company hatred. Curwood has been blamed for the change in how Terre haute workers perceive that Bemis treats them. Curwood is a division of Bemis not the other way around. It is true there is a Curler that is now head of the Bemis board, that should be known by all.

Curwood was formed by his father Howard and Bob Woods hence Curwood. They worked for American Can and went out on their own and started their own company basically in a garage. Through the process of creating new products using chemical and mechanical engineers they built Curwood to what it is today.

As a previous poster stated the Kersh Wellness program is nothing to walk over. It has been in place in many Bemis locations for years. My significant other was found to have high blood pressure which is now controlled by medication.

The temp worker situation has been blown out of proportion also as it too is in place in many Bemis facilities. I saw on one blog that if Bemis wishes to hire 73 temps why not hire 37 full time. What isn’t understood by temporary work. Perhaps seasonal is a better term. In both union and non union facilities they are used as fill ins during high vacation periods (summer) when overtime isn’t completely covered but product still needs to get out the door. Typical temp employees are college students and employee’s children some who go on to work full time for Bemis. Terre Haute employees are unwilling to have mandatory overtime to cover these high vacation periods (see 1980’s strike) and now are against Bemis’s other option for filling these vacancies and having another strike.

The other “strike” issue is insurance not being locked in. Guess what , that is the case in all the non union shops as its annually looked at and their copay is the same as what your striking against. Its great that you’ve worked with Bemis to improve your effiencies as that is the only thing that keeps your jobs secure.

As was stated on several blogs the poly bag business is low margin which means costs must be kept to a minimum to stay competitive. I hope for all Terre Haute’s sake that the workers at Bemis take a good long look at things. Perhaps they should have looked at how other facilities have received the exact issues they find so distasteful and the effects have having those programs in place before striking.

31 07 2009
BIRTHDAY

HEY AL WHO DO YOU WORK FOR PLEASE TELL SO WE CAN CHECK. THANK YOU.

2 08 2009
Cassidy Evans-Rike

Just got back from an unexpected family emergency sorry for the sudden disappearance. I will be working in Terre Haute late this week and will take the camcorder. My business partner informed me while I was out of state that the news channels have already provided video of the improper actions on the picket line but I’ve been unable to find it online.

I heard this morning that Bemis is saying they put an ad in the Trib saying they’re holding a job fair but I’ve not been able to find any such item in the online edition and the only place here in town that carries the print edition is a bit farther than I can walk right now.

5 08 2009
just me

They are paying workers from other plants their normal wages plus $35 per hour to come down there and work in the plant. Also they get a paid hotel, food. Some people are making over $57 p/h

5 08 2009
non union

They’re sending supervisors from my plant and others in the area. I thought they were being forced to go and had no idea they were getting such a large premium. I’d volunteer to go down there for $51/hr

5 08 2009
just me

not forced, they came around my plant and are looking for volunteers

5 08 2009
non union

At my plant the supervisors don’t have a choice and they aren’t asking anyone else that I know of. We’re so busy I don’t know how they could let any of us go down there anyway. We’re starting to get jobs to run from the Terre Haute plant. We can’t keep up with our own work, now we’re getting there’s too.

5 08 2009
just me

Funny thing is we are shuting down presses because of all the people they sent down there.

9 08 2009
tonka

The only thing I can say is how you going to try to get the scabs or whatever you call them fired when they might have a family to support cuz I’m sure the so called check you guys get for picketing aunt going to pay bills I don’t blame them for crossing the line and from what I hear if I was you guys I would to or its looking like the unemployment rate is going up

9 08 2009
tonka

The only thing I can say is how you going to try to get the scabs or whatever you call them fired when they might have a family to support cuz I’m sure the so called check you guys get for picketing aunt going to pay bills I don’t blame them for crossing the line and from what I hear if I was you guys I would to or its looking like the unemployment rate is going up

12 08 2009
Ajak

If a union member crosses the picket line they have two options-sign a decertification card which removes them from the union,those folks will be absorbed into management or moved to another plant or loose there job as the Terre Haute facility is a closed shop. The other option is to stay in the union loose your right to vote and hold any union officer position also there has been a ruling in a court of law allowing the union to fine the workers ALL of the wages earned during the strike.The workers were initially told that the union could only fine them 1 weeks worth of wages and they would cover the fine. Bemis changed their position and now will only provide a lawyer if the member decides to fight it.Also union will be obligated to represent them in grievences in the future but im sure it would be half heartedly done

10 08 2009
down with the union

Unions need to go the way of the dinosaur. They only protect those who are not doing their jobs up to standards. At the Bemis owned plant that I work at not one person had a fit at having to have their spouse take a free physical. If you don’t like having to have your spouse come in, just decline the insurance and find you own. Get back to work so the people that are doing your work can get back to their families.

14 08 2009
Ajak

Contract #2 voted down by a large majority.It was basically the same as #1 with minor language changes. I suppose the company felt the union would come running back like they did in 85 seems this group is not intimidated and willing to go for the long haul.Big gamble.

16 08 2009
AL

Yes big gamble for a plant in the lowest margin division. A significant amount of the work has already been moved to other facilities including plants where the work originally was done. Also a gamble with PPE type facilities soon to become Bemis from Alcan. One of the reasons Bemis probably looked at Alcan was that they are farther ahead in the World Class Manufacturing practices then Bemis at this point. Which is another complaint mentioned on other blogs by people in the Terre Haute facility. All for what ? HRA’s , temp workers, and insurance , all issues readily accepted at other Bemis facilities both union and non union. Heard Mankato just signed a contract with all the same items in it. On one blog I noticed a comment asking why Bemis Terre Haute would go on strike when the area has lost so many manufacturing jobs already. Maybe the question that should have been asked is why has business moved out of the area and then looked at the Bemis Terre Haute strike as a possible answer.

16 08 2009
Tom

I struggle with the whole concept of unions especially these days. Let me see if I can put this in perspective: A company starts a business and you or I ASK them for a job. We are lucky enough to be hired and make a good wage and also get some additional benefits. So far it all sounds pretty good. What gives anyone that asked the company that took the risk to start a business the right to tell the company what they will or will not do or how the company is to be ran? Isn’t this like biting the hand that feeds us? I don’t get the whole union mentality. This is a capitalist society (at least for now). We are not entitled to anything we do not earn. Enjoy the picket line. I trust it won’t make your mortgage payment. I bet your union leaders are still getting paid well.

17 08 2009
down with the union

You said it Tom. Back when unions first started they were needed. Businesses did take advantage of workers. Now it is almost impossible to take advantage of workers unless they let themselves be taken advantage of. Your plant is a team. It is not “Us” vs. “Office and Management.” Also I noted in some articles it is being said that the worker’s whole family has to have a medical check to have the insurance. This is not true. It is only your spouse. What person turns down a free physical. I work for a Bemis owned, non-union plant. I do not elect to have the health insurance they provide, but I do take advantage of the free physical. I found that I have some health issues and am now taking actions to correct them. I would not have found out if I did not take the FREE physical. If you don’t like temp workers then, work the mandatory overtime instead of only wanting to work overtime when it works into you schedule. These are basically seasonal workers. When times get slow they go away. I you are worried that they might take your job, then you must not be doing a good job and are giving them a reason to replace you. The whole Danny Glover stunt made me laugh, An actor who makes millions of dollars and does not have to worry about making ends meet walking the picket line. Danny go back and make another Lethal Weapon movie. Get back to work so the people that are covering your shift can get back to their families.

17 08 2009
Tom

Here is how I see it: In the event this thing gets resolved and in the event you striking workers get a contract that you deem acceptable, you will still have an “us versus them” attitude which will not be good for either the company or you the employee. My recommendation to you striking workers that if you think Bemis is such a bad place to work, then you have three choices:
1. Quit now and go find greener grasses. (Good Luck with that!)
2. Accept the company offer and be happy and productive for the future of the Terre Haute plant and your own futures.
3. Accept the offer and do everything you can to try to make your environment better for both you and your company. The NOT MY JOB MENTALITY is no longer going to let your plant survive.
Look around…companies and plants that are unionized and feel ENTITLED are not doing so well. Look at the auto industry, and many others.
Again as I stated before, you asked Bemis for a job. I’m pretty sure they did not come to your house begging you to come and work for them.
It’s time you strikers move on or settle.

17 08 2009
Tom

I hope all is resolved quickly and in peace.

25 08 2009
John

Earlier blog mentioned that Mankato accepted the same conditions as the Company is proposing at Terre Haute plant. YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MANKATO OR YOU WOULD NOT HAVE STATED THAT LIE. SIGNED MANKATO UNION EMPLOYEE

26 08 2009
down with the union

Can you elaborate on that or are you just going to throw out statements without backing them up.

26 08 2009
John

I wasn’t the one who threw out the Mankato plant. All I’m saying is we do not have the issues the Terre Haute plant has. The previous statement that we have the same items was false.

27 08 2009
John

My comment is to DOWN with the Unions. You state that you work at a Bemis plant. Then you should already know that the health insurance already pays 100% for a yearly physical. This HRA may be more than meets the eye. One doesn’t know. However, What if a spouse declines based on their religion. Who pays for the litigation over a discrimination case when the requirement is in the contract? Lots of issues. Seems to me that a voluntary system with a reward for participating would have been better. Offer all the people whom participate 50% off a health club membership. Wouldn’t this assist the goal of better health. My point is there were several thing that could of happened but the Company decided what they wanted. By the way, I can’t think of very many salaried employees who like the mandatory HRA for their spouses and the fact their deductable and max out of pocket can change at anytime. Just a thought

28 08 2009
down with the union

Where I work no salaried or hourly employee complained about having to have their spouse come in. You might be asking how I would know about both salaried and hourly. I worked on the floor for six months this year and have worked in the office since then. To me it’s simple, if you don’t want to have you spouse come in, then decline the insurance and find one you are comfortable with. Health club memberships would be great but what if your workforce is from many different communities not just the town the plant is located in. Should the company try to get agreements from health clubs in every town? That does not seem reasonable to me. What if your town does not have a health club, do you give that employee some cash for a Bowflex. To me this all comes down to the fact that unions are not needed. If you don’t like how your employer is treating you, find a new job. I know it would be hard in this economy, but why deal with the stress of hating your job every day. I came to my Bemis owned company from a job that I hated some much I had to think of reasons to go to that job(bills to pay). Every day I come to work and think, wow I am lucky to have this job. Sure the company decided what they wanted but so did the union. The real victims here are the people that did not want to strike but didn’t want to cross the picket line because they were told they would get sued for their wages they made. That sounds like a bullying tactic, which unions are good at. If I start a business I get to decide what I’ll pay my employees and what benefits I will offer. Not the employees. If they think that the benefits package is not right they can ask to have it changed, but if that does not happen then either live with it or quit. I know that wont change your mind on unions and there is nothing that anyone can say to me that will make me think unions are needed in this day and age. Just my thoughts

1 09 2009
Insurance

I was not the one who initiated the installation of Mankato. All I’m saying is that we do not have the problems of plant-Terre Haute. The previous statement, we had the same article incorrectly.

29 09 2009
Dan Crapo

I have read most of these items and seen truth on both sides. The one thing that was not put to light is that the Union offered to work with the same contract and continue to work while a new contract was being done. The Company said NO, go ahead and exercise your right to strike. All of the bad things and feelings could have been only a thought. As it was, it did happen and nobody wins. Both sides lost. Why are people so stupid? Now that the strike is over and we are back to work nothing has changed. The Company still is trying to penalize us and the Union is still trying to fight back. Nothing ever changes. I’m glad I only have acouple more years to get my forty years and I can finally retire.

23 09 2010
kalendarze

Good and well-written. I will come back to your site. Regards!

17 11 2010
Energy Efficient Window

you can really learn a lot from health clubs specially if there are doctors who are also members on the health club ‘,’

21 10 2011
Jewelry

Jewelry…

[...]Bemis Union Workers vote STRIKE – You freak’en crazy « bluegil's Pond[...]…

8 12 2011
ADORDCLENDREW

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