Roemer employees strike for fair contract

Cite unfair labor practices; want to keep union

BROOKFIELD — Employees at Roemer Industries are on strike against what they say are unfair labor practices. Nineteen workers walked off the job Wednesday morning.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with wages or benefits,” said Richard Ellison, screen print operator. “It has everything to do with unfair labor practice.”

The employees have been without a contract for 2 1/2 years, said Jose Arroyo, staff representative for the United Steelworkers in District 1.

Employees have tried to negotiate contracts with Roemer but have been met with resistance, said Ronald Merrick, union chair for the United Steelworkers Local 1375-14.

“The past two meetings we’ve given them (Roemer) a proposal, they gave us nothing back,” Merrick said. “We basically sat there waiting for us to answer. They’ve rejected everything.”

A call to Roemer on Friday afternoon for comment was left unanswered.

Ellison said the company wants to have an open shop, which means disbanding the union.

Roemer supplies custom graphic industrial identification products and services. It’s website states that it “specialize in finding solutions to graphic identification needs through the creative use of engineering, graphic applications and fabricating capabilities.”

“We don’t ever want to damage the business because the business helps us to feed our families and live,” Arroyo said. “It’s so important to have a voice.”

Along with employees, retired workers and other unions stopped by to support the picket.

“Steelworkers and Teamsters are working together for a fair contract,” said Arthur Zaleski, who is with Graphic Communications Conference / International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The pickets will remain at the gates of the industry until something changes, Merrick said.