Update: After negotiations, Local D239 and Imerys Talc have reached an agreement to end the lockout. The members of Local D239 and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers extend our gratitude to the many people and organizations—near and far—who supported Local D239 during the three-month lockout. We cannot thank you enough for your encouragement; donations of funds, food and supplies; emails and letters; time on the picket line with us; advocacy; and many other acts of kindness and solidarity.

We are focused on the future, and we look forward to going back to work and doing what the workers from Local D239 have always done: work hard and produce the best possible product for Imerys’ customers.

Randy Tocci

Randy Tocci

“I grew up in Three Forks. Worked for the talc mill for 38 years.”

Randy Tocci

Randy Tocci grew up on a ranch just a few miles from the talc mill, now owned by Imerys Talc America in Three Forks, Montana.

“I’ve lived here all my life. Born and raised right down the road,” he says, nodding beyond the railroad tracks toward rolling fields and the distant snow-capped mountains.

Living on a ranch taught Randy to work hard and set him up with a solid work ethic. So, when he started working for the mill in 1981, he did as he’d always done: He gave the job 100%. That, he says, is also the mindset of his co-workers, many of whom have also spent decades working for the mill.

“I’ve given this job the best years of my life,” he says. “Produced for them. This plant has always made a profit and yet that’s not good enough for Imerys, and I don’t understand why.”

Randy, who is president of the Boilermakers union Local Lodge D239, is one of 35 workers locked out by Imerys since August 2. He’s one of 35 Montana households going without a paycheck or health insurance — now for over two months. Imerys locked the workers out after serving up “last, best and final” contract demands that gutted healthcare for new retirees, layoff recall rights and overtime policies, in addition to freezing the pension plan.

“This whole negotiation process has never been about money,” Randy says. “We’re hanging up on our work ruling, and I can’t understand why the company would hang up on those items and force us out of our jobs when we’re making them the kind of money we’re making them.”

Mediation has failed to produce results, with Imerys standing firm and refusing to negotiate on the contract cuts they originally proposed. And when the Boilermakers union International President requested a meeting with Imery’s highest officer at the company’s French headquarters to discuss the situation and how best to move forward, the request was denied with a statement that it does not get involved with matters at its regional operations.

Says Randy: “If I had a chance to talk with the CEO in France, I would ask him: Why would you allow your North American counterparts to ruin a community and ruin a profitable business that makes over a million dollars a month profit for you? Why would you push these guys out the door who have committed their lives to this company and this plant? Why would you want to do that to these people?

“We’re Montanans, and Montanans are strong individuals. We’ll gladly work in cooperation to get this ironed out and to get back to work. I’ll go back to work today, tomorrow… all they have to do is be willing to come back to the table and do a little compromising, and we’ll be back in there, pronto, to run the plant like we always have, to make this the best producing plant that it has always been.”

Ferguson and Carly Gammon

Ferguson and Carly Gammon

“We’re expecting our baby on our anniversary. It’s a little stressful. We thought we had everything planned out and then something like this happens.”

Ferguson and Carly Gammon

Ferguson and Carly Gammon were excited about the job opportunity that would move them from Kansas City, Kansas, back to Carly’s hometown near Three Forks, Montana. Carly’s father, Jeffrey Briggs, had tipped Ferguson off about a job at Imerys Talc mill where he’s worked for the past 18 years.

When Ferguson got the job, the young couple was thrilled. They moved into the basement of Carly’s parents’ house to prepare to buy a home of their own — a home they would soon need, because they were expecting their first baby. Married just three years, everything seemed like it was a dream unfolding for the Gammons.

And then Imerys locked Ferguson and his father-in-law Jeffrey from their jobs. With the Gammons, and Carly’s parents — plus Carly’s four younger siblings and soon to be a newborn — all living under one roof, that’s a lot of uncertainty and financial hardship for one family to endure.

“We’re expecting our baby on our anniversary. I’m ready for the baby to be here,” says Carly. “It’s stressful. We thought we had everything planned out, and then something like this happens.”

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking for me,” Ferguson adds, noting that with only Carly working and no employer-provided healthcare, money is tight.

“I thought we were producing well, and we were making the company a lot of money. The guys there had incredible experience, and the work atmosphere was great. So I’ve been trying to figure out why.

“If I had a chance to talk to the head honchos from Imerys, I would say: We’re people out here. We’re families you’ve locked out. I say, let’s go back to the negotiating table and get something done that is both beneficial for the company and us. It can’t all be one-sided for us or for them.”

Jeffrey and Stacy Briggs

Jeffrey and Stacy Briggs

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before in any place that I’ve worked. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine anything would happen like this.”

Jeffrey and Stacy Briggs

Jeffrey Briggs has worked for 18 years at the talc mill in Three Forks, Montana, now owned by Imerys. Things were going well for the father of five and his wife Stacy. Their oldest daughter and son-in-law, Carly and Ferguson Gammon, had recently moved in with them from Kansas City, Kansas, and were expecting their first baby. Ferguson had gotten a job at the talc mill with Jeffrey. And with the Briggs’ oldest son in college, another son enjoying his senior year of high school, and two daughters busy with activities, things were on balance for the Briggs family.

Then Imerys locked out Jeffrey and Ferguson.

“I never thought we would get locked out,” Jeffrey says. “I figured we’d keep working under our old contract until they could negotiate, meet somewhere in the middle. So when they escorted everybody out of the plant, I figured we’d be back to work in just a couple days.”

That was over 50 days ago.

“I have never experienced anything like this before in any place that I’ve worked. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine anything would happen like this.”

Jeffrey says the first time he met the current Imerys plant manager a little over a year ago, the new manager showed photos of his family.

“I thought, well, this is going to be okay,” Jeffrey says. “I thought he was a family man coming into our family as a union and a workforce. Now, with us being locked out, I have a totally different image of him and of the company. They’re not concerned about the employees and their families.”

Jeffrey’s wife Stacy is especially worried about her daughter and son-in-law.

“We’re excited about our first grandchild, but it’s scary not having insurance we had planned on,” she says. “The company pulls it out from under us right before they deliver, so that’s especially scary. And the company is aware of the situation. It’s not like they didn’t know that she was expecting a baby.”

To make ends meet for the family of eight — soon to be nine — all living in one household, Jeffrey is taking on side jobs and selling extra hay he put up over the summer.

“The uncertainty is the hardest thing about this lockout,” Stacy says.

“The hardest thing for me, along with the uncertainty,” says Jeff, “is that the company’s not willing to even meet us in the middle. We go to negotiations, and there’s no negotiating. It’s their way, or no way.

“We’ve worked hard to make the company profitable and to take care of their customers.

“If I could say one thing to Imerys it would be this: Come back to the bargaining table and do it in good faith. The union doesn’t expect to get everything, but we want to meet in the middle somewhere so that both parties are happy.

“I hope they’ll realize we’re hard working people. We’re not lazy. We go to work and put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. We try to get along with our supervisors, and we always have.”

See our story

Ways you can support the Local D239 workers locked out by Imerys Talc:

Send a donation through the fund set up by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Checks should be made out to “W.T. Creeden, IST” with “D239 Lockout Assistance” on the memo line. Mail checks to:

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Attn: IST W.T. Creeden
753 State Ave., Suite 565
Kansas City, KS 66101

Use your social media power. Use #StandWithThreeForks to aggregate posts showing support for L-D239 and denouncing Imerys (tag Imerys as @Imerys) Follow @boilermakers.union on Facebook and @boilermakernews on Twitter, and share news about L-D239 as it develops.

Literally stand with L-D239. Visit Three Forks and pick up a picket sign to rally with the workers.

Share a short video.

Watch and share this short :30 video.

Show your support

Add your name and show Imerys Talc that you #StandWithThreeForks and the workers they locked out!
(Your email address will not be shared.)

Your name was added to the petition!

We Stand with Three Forks!

John Bielak
Judy Wing
Eric Linderer
Lisa Malmquist
Mary Fiore
David L Gaillard IR/ISO
Joan Melcher
Rachel Lanning
Stephen Woods
Lonny Babcock
Rick Sauer
Randy Tocci
Daniel DeWitt
Robert Coons
Martin J Quirk JR
Andrea Montague
Kayleigh Peterman
Kent Case
William Mocny
Jenny Schar
Donna
Andy Shirtliff
Ben Heurung
Iliana Senger
Patrick Dolan
Robin Reimann
Gerald Kretmar
A. Haggart
Angela Hunter
Dominic McGhee
Michael Enriquez
Donna Rogers
Will Bores
Matt Dicken
Matt Harris
John-Erik Steiger
Belinda christakisliuna local 16,metal trades albuquerque
Arthur Fretheim
Ed Walter
Thomas Campbell
Gary Powers
Kenneth
Sue Tarpey
Maggie Bruce
TIMOTHY G BRUMFIELD
Ginny powers
Verda Morissette
Ron Terwilleger
Joe Granvold
Tom Hoffman
Eri Glans-Suzuki
Monica Hill
Nathaniel Oberbrunner
James Sharkey
Darrell Holzer
Robert C. Brown III
Jacqueline R Dick
Resid B.
Kat Bartley
Marcia Pablo
Mike Haga
Jesse kilgore
Mary Barbachano
Michael Pointer
Jordan Sheinman
Ofelia Grimes
gene fenderson
Jordan Jacobs
Mya Fillingham
Daryl Wing
Elan Carlson
Todd Clements
B.J. DuRoss
Joseph Thiebes
Chris Browning
Fred Rumsey
Laura Newton
Jacqueline Reimers
Tayla Walston
Christopher McCormack
John Hill
Stephen Leshinski
Alyssa Kang
Fernando Huerta
Bob Fickle
Al Wassell
Shane Wassam
Shane lubovich
Beckie Squires
Steve Nelson
Wendell Rushton
William Murrin
Karen Morian
Katy Haugland
Doreen McGrath
Jayce Groves
Jeff V
Joe Schendel
Diane Allen
William Thornton
Beth Martin
Marcy
Karolee Weickum
Becky Hespen
Patricia Pressley
Summer Runyon
Jerimiah graves
Robert Wilson
Amy Williams
Scot hinson
Cindy Jolley
Todd Robinson local 13
Stacy Caughlin
Mike Masterson
Colette Cambell
Mary Linderer
Shawn Kissell
Rob Senn
Wendell Rushton
Nic williams
Edward Eugene Brown Boilermakers Local 357 Peru Indiana
James A. Holbrook
Dennis' LaborSOLIDARITY
Barbara Hill
Laverne Sipes
Robert Greenhouse
Jody L. Mauller
Scott Sheidlower
Tanner Brockmiller
Joshua Mangold
Christian Sweeney
Roger Dortch
Debbie Goodwin
Logan Trotter
Wade Horsley
Aaron Hanson
David E. Wilkin
Thomas Bauch
Robert Coons
Preston Penick
Samir Budić
Ian Frost
David E Prentice
Mark T Conroy
Mary Kathryn Campbell
Phillip Alward
Evangeline Swaniawski
Steve Heacock
Jim and Diane Phillips
Rocco DeRollo
Wendy Asreen
Keni Anderson
Monique L'Heureux
Gary Powers
Mike Wise
Nancy Anderson
CJ Patritti
David Carden
Jim sprunger
martin LaCarbonara
Elizabeth Marum
Gisele Thorson
Fred Bevis
Cory Channon
Cindi Colbert
David L Gaillard IR/ISO
Johnny Lopez
Christina Pollpeter
Todd Smith
Scott Weaver
Raymond Bettis
Jordan Michael IBB 13
Michael Dimaria
Mike Dessart
Amber
Pat Downey
Steve Hurm
Daniel Connelly
Charles Ferguson
John Mansker
Luke Harris
Katherine Schar
Louis Bain II
Nick Listorti
Dennis j Bogusky
Jamison Turner
thomas kozlovsky
Joan Matthiesen
Pete Keenan
Jason waite
Mark peck
Mary Riitano
Colin Buell
Haley Walters
Brent Battin
Jessica hendrickson
Alfred O’connor
Kathy Lira
Anthony Licerio
David Hurley
Anita Johnson
Shannon Provence
Any Fiel
Lena Yuliana
Braxton Kukay
Billie Penney
Keri Skocilich
Cullen Jones
Bob Walker local 900
Chris Rolling
Eugene Brockmiller
Justin Maness
Elena Dickens
Frank
Newton Jones
Chris Wilson
Glen Southergill
Marlene Pablo
Denise Peck
Jake ludeman
Norman Wernet
Bill Staggs
Hilary Parker
Mike
William Brockmiller
Michael Straeter
Shawn Gilchrist
Chris Shook
Tyler Brown
Moffie Funk
Angelo Aimone
Bessie Cadle
Joel Hendrickson
Brian Meyers
Robert Sisk
Frederick Bradtke
John Zoller
JOHN MUDIE
Joseph Utley
Ashleigh Clark
Edwin Collier
Don McKenzie
Guy hache
Katie Hansen
Chris Wilson
James Runyon
Steven Wilhelm
Cecile Conroy
terry bartle
Florence Portell
Mircha
Rod Ypma
Jason Hettel
Ozella Paucek
Will Rawn
Mike Bales
Al Ekblad
Courtney Wheeler
Gene Forkin
Madison Everson
Garrison Choitz
Kathie Callahan
William Brown
Alisha Pacocha MD
Tom Hoffman
Melody Knight
Dawn Francis
Jervon Graves
Brent Battin
Sharon mcomber
John Fultz
GlenEva Dunham
Cindy Mayes
Mark archer
Shelley Sigurdson
Chris Geovanis
Marlon Nicks
Jaydin Ledford
Kristen Schillinger Williams
Doug Ewell
Christine Joitel
Mike Morales
DeLane Adams
Mike Jacobi
Kimberly Weis
Duane
Linda Donahue
Michelle
Jennifer Allen Tarpey
Mike Sowko
Lonie Huerta
Marvin Sawyer
Britney Aaron
Terry Lynn Minow
Anthony Murdock II
Carol
Fred Holland
Gary MONICAL jr
sharon brazill
JAMES WHITE
Dave Peter [Local 374]
Waylon Tromp
Frank Rodriguez
Marilyn Irwin
Shane Seley
Trenton Barker
Wendy Overeem
Steve Beal
Violet Evenson
Lonie Grant
Stephanie overshiner
Brandon Calvert
Jaclyn Greenholt
John Hiner
Erica Robinson
Nancy Watson
Lawrence Anderson
Dennis Case
Marisol Thomer
Gust Halvorson
swank
Wayne Harper
Christine Cunningham
Kimberly Weis
Rob Lauzon
Howard D Gassett
Larry Hendel
Newton B. Jones
Tanner Brockmiller
Mary Broderick
Terri Jaap
David Nack
Jamie Cothren
Jim Shaffer
Brian O'Donnell
Randy Carr Local 900 retired
Bill Whelan
June & Jeff Safford
Tracy Buck
Scott & Tracy Welter
Jeff Brown
Mr. Carrie Dibbert
William Hill
Murl Blanda
Rudy Gonzalez
Edward Harkins
Kenneth C. Taylor
Tony Palmisano
Bill Sauers
Diane Magone
James Lofton
Leann Hjelt Loggins
Dean Lewis
Don Easy
Cynthia Stapp
Trey Wyman
Ian Reynolds
Aaron Pearl
Emily Chiller
Vic Peterson
Maurice McGrath
Jeff Brown
Alexander Ivanou
Kathy Remack
Terry Poplawski
Brennen Boyd
Courtney
Mary Barbachano
Amir Arman
Marc Flynn
Hope Koch
Jamie Cross
Stanley Rose
Butch Davidson
Michael Griffith
Barbara L Lefevre
Paul Crawford
Don & Margarita McLarty
ROBERT NAVARRO
Jeff Campbell
Deborah Buffton
Heidi Ypma
Michelle Zeiler
John T. Fultz
Thomas Dougherty
Kim Wegner-McCauley
Emma Foster
Thomas Essenberg
Michael bushek
Angela Cross
Barbara Zavilowicz
Luke Malone
Mitchel Mueller
Alan Ekblad
Jeffre
Rhonda Neugebauer
Timothy Canon
Belinda christakis
Linda A Wallis
Benjamin Hise
Kevin Ray
Jesse Henderson
Bing Han
Ben Blazek
Doug Needham Local 900
Gene Bay
David Hegeman
Judy Shackelford
Lynn Daily-Nielsen
Warren Fairley
Andrew Chenevey
Brad and Trina Robinson
mike pilcher
Steve Jones
Linda Beischel
Beth Edelman
Sheilagh Creighton
Robert Barbier
Tina Welter
Jimmy McHugh
Rick Fischer IBEW 212
Consuelo Hegmann
Curtis Nesset
Tim wright
Ryan hunter
Ryan Mills
Paul Ross
Destiny
Leah
Pam Pennell
Jonathan Battaglia
william brazill
Caleb Hoffman
David Kyle
Jon Zehner
Kallie Leyba
William McGinnis
Amy Wiser
Barb M
Vadym Gutara
Kevin Sheptycki
Scott W. Anderson
Jaron Spoja
Mark Williams
Hilary DeVries
Mark Gearhart
Halie Schowalter
Terry Bartle
Maurine Moen
Sheryl Goff
Anna Bowman
Jerrad Jeworski
Wendell Barney+Sr
BJ Motley
Ken Sagar
Chas J. Lamare
Nova Davis
Gary Buresh
Josh patterson
Martin J Quirk JR
Nancy Stencil
Anthony DeAngelis
Spencer Clark
Ms. Alfredo Hermann
Petra Brannmark
Steven Burger
Tom Lux
Daniel R Geist
Martin Williams
Anna Volkersz
Sincere Hudson
The Ervin’s
Bill Creeden
Jenna Mauller
Paul Hughes
Mark Garrett
Cathy Blair
Dawn Jones
Peg Green
Katie Gregg
James Pressley
Robert
JT Rhea, IR-ISO-Retired
Kim Bruen
Bob Funk
Mike Linderer
Kevin Mathews
larry williams jr
Joseph Boyd
Hayes Lanier
Jessica Ann Dahlman
Brad Politowski
Don Somsky
Trent Labadie
Julie Brame
judith lienhard
Margaret Hanlon Gradie
Mike Neu Local 374
Jill Allen
Cathy Hanson
Joe Bagby
Bradley Williams
Brandi Waters
Jennifer Williams
Tim Harris
Jerry Rukavina
Chuck Barone
Luke Henrikson
Victoria Bor
Andrea Ross
Diane Fladmo
Mark Anderlik
Kyle parkin
Stephanie Stevenson
June Minow
John Mansker
Diane Allen
Adam Haight
Darin Hull
Blaze wharton
Dianne Whitten
Robert Whited
Michael Palm
Brian Roe
Greg Stockburger
william jackson 111
Kathleen Bache
wayne ellis
Phillipp J. Evans
Donald Baker
Montina Rawson
Cindy Krebs
Thomas Cushing
Ed Leydecker
Thomas Cardiel
carol Fultz
Pam Boyd
Ivah Doyle
Adam Wood
William O. Coleman
Joseph Maguire
Summer Runyon
David J. Weigand
Wendell flener
Sebastian Reinger
Matthew Hirsch
Leonie Guguen
Evelyn Pietrowski-Ciullo
James richards
Dr. Cairo D'Almeida
Shari harris
DAVID V RUFFNER
Tammy Gnerer
Gene Townsend
Patrick McDonough
Wayne Blakeman
Mary Echols
Aleceia
Doug Boney
Teresa
Wade horsley
Al McCullough
Lonnie White
Amie Kraus
Miguel Fonseca
Natalee Walters
William and Shelley Bacon
Rich Plunkett
Cheryl LaBash
Chellie Kissell
Colton Fields
Tony Johnson
Maria L. Gomez
Emily Allen
Julz Gilpin
Gina Badhorse
Dennis Creese
Tyler Kirk
Karen Lewis
Rene Castillo BCTGM 125
Kerry Hooten
Stephen Williams
Ron Harrell
Alan Duval
Anthony Morrison
Nona Bechtelar
Courtney Cashell
Anthony nash
Linda Sandman
David Cheong
Lauretta Wunsch
Amrit Sidhu
John Jacobsen
Christina Cauthron
Nadina Brown
Enrico Pelausa
Rochelle E
Lynn Ferguson
Brett McCoy
Rod McGuire
Hillary Englund
Pat O'Brien Townsend
Kym Savage
Shy Zeiger
Kaelen Cross
Stephen A. Wyland
Mrs. Jack Doyle
Joe Summers
Kris Peyet
Bernard Offen
Frank Grijalva
Dale Brandemihl
Tracey Foyle
Larry McManamon
patrick vigil
Jake Dolan
Mark Strand
Frank Saptel
Paul Plaganis
Shelly Horsley
Bob Funk
Nancy L. McCourt
Dan engle
Dan Luhmann
Joanna Soderlund
Oscar S Davila
Mrs. Angel Bahringer
Ed Nye
Issac King
Billy Shick Local 374
Nadina Brown
Jim O'Leary
Scott Reynolds
Zac Wheeler
Lynn Russell
Alexander Paddock
James Cross
Deborah Dornish
Kay Duncan
Shari Harris
Trent Sorensen
Erica Turney
Ella Macejkovic
matt whidden
John Buszta
Kenton Carter
Phil Piper
Cecile Conroy
Ken B, Firefighter
Tom Kern
Michael Korb
Regan Shanahan
Anne
Sheila Hepp
Charles Cornett
John C. Board
Mel Brown
Zac Gustafson
Jacey Wisozk
David manni
Andrew Enoch
Ethan
Steve Adair
Jack and Jan Wallace
Nick Chavez
Carlos Brooks
Brian Scott
TT Cole
Amber Hungerford
Joel Freedman
Julie Blondeel
Dani Patritti
Dan McHale
Dean E Waltee
Jeffrey Brylski
Michael Yates
Dave Clawson
Mary Broderick IBEW68 Denver
Tyler Oehmcke
Jim and Diane Phillips
Ernest McDavid
Jeff Harrington
Nicole Milam
Jeff
David Gaillard
Dan Luhmann
Tom Rowland
Mircha Vorobets
Tom Baca
Bianka Durgan
Ben Robinson
Chris McKeown Local 128
Muhammad Hansen
Gilbert R Lepe
mary austin
Christy Mauller
Douglas Langenau
Alyson Roberts
Ann wing
Janice Bell
Alexis Olbrei
Ken Maduscha
DJ Jones
Patrick Ainsworth Sr.
Dartine Solis
Joe Maloney
Mark archer
Missy Kissell
carole newman
Kenneth C. Taylor
Judith Morris
Mark Cusack
Jessica Rhoades
Bob Eagle
Leah hale
John Tate
Dawn Lewis
john mcelhone
Isabelle
Sherry McCord
Henry Millstein
Linda Romero
Darren McCabe
Catherine
Dr. Orlo Pagac
Erik Seaberg
Steve Parris
Randy Robbins
Jessica conley
Alise Martiny
Donald Cronin
Frank Fuhrmann
Tim Kelley
Laurel O'Connell
Chera cunningham

 

 

Read these letters of support, and check out a little of the media's coverage:

If you have questions about the Boilermakers union, Local D239 or what’s happening at Imerys Talc America in Three Forks, Montana, please contact us:

Gary Powers
International Representative
Phone: 206-949-3891
Email: gpowers@boilermakers.org
www.boilermakers.org

Randy Tocci
President of Local D239
Phone: (406) 570-6149
Email: randytocci@gmail.com

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers