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The executive board of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD) pledged solidarity with the Bakery Workers (BCTGM), CWA, IBEW and the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) in their respective beefs. The board approved three separate statements of support during its two-day meeting in March.

On August 1, 2011, more than 1,300 BCTGM members in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa were locked out by American Crystal Sugar, a cooperative of sugar beet farmers.

Replacement workers now are in place and management continues to refuse to return to the bargaining table for meaningful contract negotiation. 

Along the East Coast, union members are fighting for a contract with a national telecommunications company. The MTD expressed its strong support for “the efforts of tens of thousands of workers employed by Verizon and Verizon Wireless from New England to Virginia to secure justice and preserve their middle-class way of life by gaining a new contract.

“Members of the MTD-affiliated Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers returned to work in August following a two-week strike under the terms of the previous contract and resumed negotiations which are still in progress.

“While the unions have been willing to make reasonable compromises, the telecommunications giant, which had $108 billion in sales last year and $10 billion in profits, is looking for drastic concessions,” read the statement.

As negotiators continue to work on gaining a fair contract, the unions’ supporters have shown their solidarity across the country through leafleting outside Verizon Wireless stores and sponsored venues to call attention to the fight for good American jobs.

Meanwhile, the International Longshoremen’s Association submitted a resolution expressing support for the MUNZ in its negotiations with the Port of Auckland Ltd.

As the ILA noted, MUNZ has been negotiating in good faith. Unfortunately, “management has replied … by firing the workers and beginning the process of outsourcing the jobs.”

The MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils called for fair and just contracts for all workers in involved in these struggles.