BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – Today marks a week since workers at the Sherwin-Williams plant here in Bowling Green went on strike.
“We are on strike for social benefits, certain working conditions. We’ve been bargaining for about two months,” said Teamsters Local 783 vice-president Gerry Francisco.
The workers initially tried to negotiate with Sherwin-William for better terms, but went on strike after an agreement could not be reached.
“We’ve pretty much stalled right now,” Francisco explained, “We met yesterday and parted ways without being able to make any gains.”
Now, Sherwin-Williams has told strikers that those who don’t show up for a shift on or after June 1 will lose all medical benefits. Francisco said he was blindsided by the decision.
“It’s a common tactic, when a strike is called, but really caught us off guard and we negotiated until the end of the month,” Francisco said, “which usually means everyone has advantages until the end of the month. And that’s not what happened here.
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Despite Sherwin-William’s sudden message, Francisco says morale is high and the public responded well
“We got a lot of following on social media. People have been very supportive,” Francisco said, “A lot of people contact us, we got a lot of supplies.
Francisco said the strike was not the workers’ first option, but will continue until they reach an agreement with Sherwin-Williams.
“Nobody wants to be on strike, it’s not a goal, far from it. It’s a process of elimination. It was the only position we had left to make our voice heard,” Francisco said. We’ve been doing this for two months, we’re ready. My men are ready to get back to work. But until what we’re asking for is done, we just can’t do it.
WBKO has contacted Sherwin-Williams for comment but has yet to receive a response.
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