THREE FORKS – It’s been over a week since the lockout at the Imerys talc plant and the union workers have more support than they’ve ever had before.
Not only are the workers bolstered by their families and the community of Three Forks but Thursday the governor visited the picket line.
Governor Steve Bullock joined the protestors at the plant to show his solidarity with the union workers. He doesn’t agree with the lockout currently taking place.
“All they’re asking is to really maintain what they’ve had,” Bullock said. “The idea that a company would kick you out of work, at the same time you’re trying to strip health care away from folks that have worked for over three decades for this company, it’s disappointing because that’s not what Montana is.”
There has been a protest presence at the talc plant since the lockout occurred including workers, their families, and the community.
“We were here last weekend for two days and we stayed overnight,” said Tyson Gerheart, who came from Livingston to support workers. “At the most, it was probably 12 of us because they’re working in shifts as they would for the factory. This is incredible to see the community coming out.”
Protestors plan to continue to stand together for what they believe in until there is change.
“Stand with organized labor, stand with organized labor,” said Gerheart.
Governor Bullock has hopes that change will come sooner than later for these workers and their families.
“Anytime I’ve been involved with labor there’s something that’s called good faith, that’s where you begin,” said Bullock. “Where you look across the table like Montanans do, eye to eye in good faith, and say we’ll work together.”
“As hard as this is for the workers and their families, I hope what they see is what I saw, is a whole lot of people being resolute and saying, we as a state are better than this,” Bullock added.
The union workers still have hopes that they will be able to return to the drawing board with the company and go back to work.
Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News