“We never stopped from last year,” said Paul Schaffer, who was the lead organizer on the campaign. “Our volunteer organizing committee kept fighting and kept going on strong.”
Workers says that the intimidation by Volkswagen follows a pattern that the company has been engaged in since the defeat of the UAW union drive at its Chattanooga plant in February of 2013.
Today, several hundred UAW supporters blocked street corners throughout Albany to protest the decision by the federal government to extend an $18.3 million contract to Honeywell, who has locked out nearly 400 workers in South Bend, Indiana and Green Island, New York for four months.
“My grandfather was there when the union first started in 1936. My dad has been there for twenty years,” says 20-year-old Honeywell worker Brandon Bullerman. “Then I get there and the company just eliminated 60 years of my family’s progress.”
“It is an outrage and a mark on this Administration,” said Gerald Poje, a former member of the federal Chemical Safety Board. “We are asking the Obama Administration to step up and protect the American public in ways that are being mandated to protect the public of Afghanistan”.
During the nearly two years he worked at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., Ed Hunter, 43, spent his days bent over, crawling in and out of cars on the assembly line. He believes the posture slowly destroyed his body and led to an accident he suffered in June 2011. “When I got into the car I felt something go,” he says. “I just lost my foot—I couldn’t feel it.”