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!

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

 

 

 

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