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!

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

 

 

 

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