With locked-out Eramet workers back on the job this week, we urge
employees on both sides of the dispute to put differences aside and
treat each other with mutual respect.
That can be a tall order
after such a prolonged dispute. Union workers remained on the picket
line for several months. Contract offers were voted down twice before
an agreement was reached this past weekend.
And even then,
workers and their families expressed regret at some of the concessions
they were forced to make. They said enough time had passed that they
felt compelled to agree to a contract for the sake of their families.
Whatever the reasons, the latest offer was ratified and that’s the move that sent workers back to the job this week.
officials acknowledged it will take a little time for everyone to get
back to their old routines and it may be hard for some to put hard
feelings aside. That’s to be expected, but employees shouldn’t hold a
grudge or let disappointments interfere with doing a job safely and
doing it well.
Contract negotiations aren’t always easy and it’s
a task that’s further complicated when unions decide to strike or
outside parties get involved. But Eramet is like other local companies
— the workers and management are extended family — they need to rely on
those bonds now.
Recently, family members of the workers said
this experience brought them closer together. Besides the workers going
back on the job, perhaps that’s one of the positives to come from this
experience. We hope these close relationships will continue even now
that the workers have returned to work.
A labor dispute isn’t
easy on the company involved, but it takes a toll on the community,
too. Neighbors, friends and families may take sides. A lack of income
for workers means less money being spent in the community. There may be
an increase in the need for social services for the families involved
the longer the dispute drags on.
Seeing the workers return to
their jobs was a relief for those involved and for those watching from
the sidelines. We hope this experience doesn’t splinter relationships
within the company and instead leads to stronger bonds in the months
and years ahead.