Sherwin-Williams factory workers lose benefits amid strike
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Thursday marks one week since workers at the Sherwin-Williams plant in Bowling Green went on strike.
“We’re on strike for workplace benefits, some workplace conditions. We’ve been negotiating for two months, roughly,” said Gerry Francisco, Vice President of the Teamsters Local Union 783.
Workers originally tried to negotiate with Sherwin-William for better conditions but went on strike after an agreement couldn’t be made.
“We’ve pretty much stalled at this moment,” Francisco explained, “We met yesterday and separated without being able to make any gains.”
Now Sherwin-Williams has told strikers that those who have not shown 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 that we were negotiating through the end of the month,” Francisco said, “Which meant usually everybody has benefits through the end of the month. And that was not what happened here.”
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Despite the sudden message from Sherwin-William, Francisco says morale has been high and the public has been well responsive.
“We have had a lot of social media following. People have been very supportive,” Francisco said, “A lot of people are reaching out, we’ve had a lot of supplies brought by.”
Francisco said that the strike was not the workers’ first option, but it will continue until they can come to an agreement with Sherwin-Williams.
“Nobody wants to be on strike, this isn’t a goal by any stretch. It’s a process of elimination. This was the only stance we had left to have our voice heard,” Francisco said, “We’ve done this for two months, we’re ready. My people are ready to go back to work. But, until what we’re asking for is done, we just can’t do that.”
WBKO has reached out to Sherwin-Williams for a comment but has yet to receive a reply.
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