Welders strike Willbros Mountain West

“They want to get rid of the union,” said Gene Hankins, business representative for Pipeliners Union Local 798. A picket line was set up on 4 August.

Wilbros Mountain West president T.R.Hutton is reported to have said that the strike is the latest chapter in a long series of negotiations. “Fortunately it’s early enough in our projects that we’ll arrive at some solution that will allow us to meet our commitments,” he said. “We’re seeking to hire replacement workers.”

The original contract was signed by the previous owner of Mountain West Fabrication, which was purchased in 2002 by Willbros Group of Panama City, Panama, and Houston. The contract expired in April, 2004, but was extended on a month-to-month basis until last October. In January, the company made its final offer to the union, which rejected it. Hutton said the company proposed a 20% cut in wages, which range from $20 to $35/hr, and wants to discontinue health insurance and retirement contributions. “We’ve been seeking parity with our competition in the Rocky Mountain region, which is generally non-union contractors,” he said. The contract covered 12 welders and 12 welders’ helpers. The company plans to employ 30 to 40 welders this autumn, Hutton said. The welders say they will strike for as long as it takes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend