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!

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

 

 

 

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