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Vol. 75/No. 30      August 22, 2011

Corn-processing workers in Iowa
discuss lessons of recent lockout fight
KEOKUK, Iowa—Following a hard-fought battle against a 10-month lockout by Roquette America, corn-processing workers held a potluck dinner at the Labor Temple here August 5 for five retiring workers. The event provided a chance to discuss lessons from the lockout fight, including challenges when workers return to the plant. Some 100 unionists, supporters, family members, and friends took part.

The workers are members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 48G. Since they approved a contract July 23 by a small margin, they have had to attend a week of company-organized classes before returning to jobs producing cornstarch and sweeteners. Workers said they had to sign off on procedures to operate equipment and listen to managers’ lectures on improving the company’s “culture.”

“I call the classes ‘re-education camp,’” said Buddy Howard, a stalwart on the picket lines during the fight. Half a dozen workers declined to partake in Roquette’s catered lunch each day, he said.

Cindy Runge, a regular at “Club 48G,” the picket shack at the plant’s Fifth Street entrance, said she is one of more than a dozen workers who began training last week as new union shop stewards.
Related articles:
45,000 strike against Verizon’s takebacks
‘They’re coming after all us workers’
Workers fight lockout by American Crystal Sugar
Illinois uranium workers: ‘We fought a good fight’
Leader of Roquette struggle backs sugar workers
On the Picket Line  
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