Members of the Machinists Union Go on Strike Following Discrepancy in Work Hours, Racism, and Increased Disciplinary Practices
By Vanessa Lynch | @drvonskillet
Yesterday the Machinist Union from District 15 unanimously voted to go on strike following months of increased discipline for technicians and a cutback in hours. Michael Vartabedian, a representative from the Union says that men have complained of receiving less hours and different treatment based on their race.
When the strike began yesterday, Michael says management came outside and began harassing the men, one man shouting, “No Habla Ingles!”
Almost immediately after I approached the strikers, workers from Nissan came out attempting to block me from the men, asking if they were bothering me. As I walked toward my car to leave, I was approached by the owner of the dealership. She invited me into her office where her lawyer was waiting, to show me video footage from yesterday’s strike where she claimed the men shouted profanity at she and police officers.
Yesterday two separate cars hit the strikers. When I asked her about this, she claimed that the men, ‘intentionally threw themselves onto the hood of a car.’ She pulled up video footage, which I was not permitted to record, that showed the strikers walking back and forth in front of the entrance to the Nissan lot. A red car was attempting to enter the lot and strikers were in the way. An employee who does not side with the strike ran out in front of the car, shouting, “hit them if you have to!”
I asked Michael how long they would remain on strike, “as long as it takes.” was the reply. The union is awaiting another meeting to negotiate their contract to receive fair hours, and equal treatment in the workplace.
Strike is taking place at Country Nissan
Address: 40 Russell St, Hadley.
7:00AM – 8:00PM will be the strike line.
►Vanessa Lynch is an afro-caribbean community organizer and journalist who uses art as a medium for social justice and decolonization. In 2013 she co-founded Orange Ink as a news and art outlet run by young people of color. She is currently working as a member of the Injustice Liberation Front and serving as Vice President of the Board at Arise for Social Justice. She is also the newest addition to the TRGGR MEDIA COLLECTIVE. Pa’lante. @drvonskillet