Workers at Wendt Corporation, a plant based in Buffalo New York succeeded in winning their two-year fight for a collective bargaining agreement. The workers joined the Ironworkers Union (Local 576) in 2017 and they have been battling the management for its first contract. Finally, this past August the union and the management agreed to an agreement after nearly 60 sessions of negotiations. During the negotiations the Wendt management harassed union members and threatened to lay-off workers.
The two-year agreement includes increase in wages, severance benefits, and excellent package of benefits for workers; however, the union agreed for the company to “subcontract at will for legitimate business reasons, utilize management and non-union members in the performance of manufacturing.”
In 2018 the BWI launched a global solidarity campaign which included a Labourstart campaign, sending protest letters to Wendt Corporation in Buffalo, and lobbying Wendt customers and partners in Norway, Austria, and Germany to push the company to sing a union contract. BWI affiliates in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East showed its support by taking photos with “Solidarity with Wendt Workers” posters and distributing via social media.
The victory achieved by the Wendt workers is not just their own, but it is a victory for all who struggle for labour rights. The Wendt Workers have sent a thank you letter to BWI and its affiliates.