Rank-and-file Teamsters and supporters in and around Chicago gathered en masse yesterday at a rally to support Teamsters Local 710 members on strike against Railway Industrial Services (RIS) in Crest Hill, Ill.
The rally was held in solidarity with 74 railway maintenance workers who overwhelmingly voted to begin an unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday, January 17. The labor action has been ongoing 24/7 since. Today marks 25 days that members have walked the strike line.
Local 710 Business Agent Mike Ramirez led the rally, joined by members of the labor community who offered words of unity and support as the members continue their plight with no intention of backing down. Jesus Ramirez of St. John’s Church in Joliet led the group in prayer, followed by several other speakers.
Your guys’ resolve is inspiring. You’ve got thousands of Teamsters who are supporting you.
Keep up the good work — it’s going to pay off.
Local 710 Business Agent
Teamsters Local 727 Business Agent Benjamin Rodriguez spoke of Chicago Teamster members at Coca-Cola, who went on strike last winter for six weeks. Rodriguez encouraged the RIS members, “As long as you hold fast, you hold strong, you stay together and you let this employer know what you’re worth both in wages and benefits, you’re going to win.”
Thom Conelias of the Teamsters International in Washington, Jorge Mújica from Arise Chicago and Susan Hurley from Chicago Jobs with Justice also gave speeches encouraging Local 710 members to continue to stand strong for the fair contract they rightfully deserve.
Led by Hurley and Ramirez, members themselves concluded the rally by marching into the worksite to present letters of support from the community to their employer and demand that they return to the bargaining table in good faith. RIS responded again by restating their last, best and final offer. As a result, the members will continue their strike until the company can present an improved offer that reflects the members’ hard work and dedication to their jobs.
Teamsters Local 710 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.
Your Local 710 Business Agents