Brothers and Sisters, we're here today to bury the trust and good faith that is a crucial part of any negotiations. Gerdau,
with its broken promises and vicious, surprise lockout, has killed trust.
For months, we've been attempting to bargain a labor agreement that respects and rewards our members for our loyalty and
hard work, Instead of negotiating in good faith, the company has tried to dictate a labor agreement. Instead of bargaining,
the company chose confrontation.
The company has broken its word and violated our trust. We have a written, binding agreement on the length of our contract,
a commitment that Gerdau was required to honor when it purchased our facility from Cargill. The company refuses to honor that
The company broke faith with this entire community when it launched this attack on the United Steel Workers. The company
told our union leadership and the media that the plant would be on a temporary idle. Soon afterwards we learned the truth,
that the company was imposing a lockout in an unfair attempt to force our members to accept a deeply concessionary contract.
The company is directly attacking family values with its demands that our members give up vacation time and be forced to
work longer hours even while weakening our overtime protections. They want to drastically slash wages, cut health care and
create a two-tier wage system.
Local 8586 will work for justice and push back against these concessions. Today, this casket symbolizes the trust that
the company has killed in cold blood. I'd like everyone to join behind me in a funeral procession to our union hall where
we will bury the trust that the company has cynically violated and abused.