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!

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

 

 

 

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