United Aerospace Workers Local 218 has been forced out on strike because of takeaways demanded by Bell Helicopter management. If you look above the company sign in this photo, you can see the police car that reflects the company's attitude toward its employees.
Even though the corporate media has done its best to make the unionists look greedy, the real story is the same as many others: management is attempting to force more and more health care costs onto its employees. While the insurance companies lobby Washington to make sure that any government dollars have to go to them, the actual status of private industry, employer-provided insurance is deteriorating fast. Even the pioneers of this system in the UAW are seeing their benefits chipped away, and many employees not represented by unions have already lost their health care!
The strikers will be represented at the Public Health Care meeting at 1 PM on Saturday, June 27, at UAW 848 hall, 2218 East Main in Grand Prairie. If the strike continues, they will take their message to KNON radio from 7:05 to 8 AM on Monday, June 29.
Local 218 President Joe Graham says that community supporters are already pitching in, but they still need gatorade, water, and small ice chests on each of the many picket sites. More than anything else, the union needs shows of solidarity. People can honk and wave as they go by, and that means a lot to beleaguered picketers. Even better is to actually spend some time picketing with Local 218's brothers and sisters.
President Graham says that pickets are up in three counties: Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant. He asks that supporters go to whichever one is most convenient. Here are five of the most important sites where supporters are needed:
Early on June 20, activists from other unions began pouring into the union hall to take picketing assignments. President Joe Graham (center) posed with some of them as they went into the hall.