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Strike at Rockwool enters second week with no talks scheduled

It’s a second week on the picket line for workers at Rockwool in Grand Forks.

United Steelworkers local spokesman Pat McGregor says “not much” has changed other than a few emails back and forth “just clarifying some stuff” with the employer.

No bargaining talks are scheduled.

“In terms of getting together for future bargaining that has not been proposed. Of course, if the employer wishes to move off their last offer that the members rejected by 79% we would be more than wiling to sit down and listen to them,” McGregor told Vista Radio.

McGregor says wages are the main sticking point with workers “dead set” on getting a livable paycheque.

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“Our members’ paycheques aren’t buying as much as they used to before and they’re well aware of (the) current situation with inflation and all that and they would just like to be put in a better position. They’re not asking for anything outrageous,” the union president said.

He adds there are other “little issues with benefits and other stuff,” but “at the end of the day the main issue is that money in our members’ pockets and those numbers on the paycheque mean a lot.”

Around 160 employees at the insulation manufacturer have been without a contract since June 30, 2023.

McGregor says there’s been “tremendous support” from the community and other unions in Grand Forks visiting and “keeping the spirits up and it’s helping the members stay positive” on the picket line.

In a statement to Vista Radio, company spokeswoman Sarah Sinovic says it respects the workers right to strike and “looks forward to reaching an agreement soon with our labour partners.”

The Rockwool stone wool manufacturing plant has been in operation in Grand Forks for 24 years.

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