Electric Machinery workers rally in Minneapolis: ‘Two percent isn’t going to cut it’

Electric Machinery workers rally in northeast Minneapolis.

Members of IUE-CWA Local 1140 held an informational rally outside WEG Electric Machinery in northeast Minneapolis yesterday to show management their solidarity – and to clear up a potential misconception.

“The company seems to think this is bargaining as usual,” Local 1140 representative Richard Shorter said. “We know that’s not the case.

“We’ve been bargaining since June, and we need them to understand that 2% isn’t going to cut it.”

Shorter spoke to over 50 workers who marched onto Central Avenue after the day shift ended. Several said they are watching these negotiations closely, given the hot job market and an inflation rate that has hovered above 8% nationally.

Anything less than a cost of living adjustment is a wage cut at this point,” said machinist Mike Lundgren, who has six years of experience with Electric Machinery.

“They were trying to bring people in at $16 per hour, and now it’s $18 per hour,” said Cliff Anderson, in his 49th year working at the plant. “People can go earn about the same thing at Burger King.”

Local 1140’s Richard Shorter gives Electric Machinery workers a bargaining update.

Owned by Brazil-based WEG since 2011, Electric Machinery designs, manufactures and services large electrical motors and generators. The company’s roots in northeast Minneapolis go back over 125 years.

At its peak, employment reached 1,500. About 130 IUE-CWA members currently work in the facility.

“They used to actually care about the people,” Anderson said. “Now it’s a company that cares about satisfying the corporate head, nothing else.”

IUE-CWA is the branch of the Communications Workers union that brings together manufacturing and industrial workers in a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, furniture, and appliances.

Negotiations between Local 1140 and WEG Electric Machinery are scheduled to continue through September. The contract expires in early October.

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