BOZEMAN – After political pressure and an outpouring of community support, former employees of Imerys Talc Mill in Three Forks could soon begin getting their jobs back
Every day for the past month, union employees have met outside the plant with signs in their hands and a pit in their stomach. Former 22-year Imerys employee Denny Delaittre was devastated by the lockout and the fact that at the end of the month he will no longer have the company’s health insurance.
“Well it is tough because you know I have to tell my daughters that I have no money coming in so we are going to have to cut things back and I will have to go out and find medical insurance on my own, which is very expensive,” said Delaittre.
Since the protests began numerous political figures including Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic U.S. House candidate Kathleen Williams, Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. John Tester, Rep. Greg Gianforte and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox have all showed their support for the union workers. Union president Randy Tocci said he believes the political pressure along with the community support pushed the mill to start up negotiations again.
Tocci said the union wrote to the company requesting the two parties come together to work out an agreement. Imerys has set up these negotiations for September 11th-12th, which will be mediated.
“The company has shown us before, they have offered to go to mediation then we didn’t get there and then they wouldn’t go to mediation,” said Tocci. “So they don’t have a good light in our eye for being truthful with us so up until that point we are going to keep the pressure on with politicians with getting after them about what they are doing and try and get our jobs back and get in there and do what we do best.”
Tocci said the union wants to work out an agreement with the plant but will not compromise on a few key points. He would not disclose what those points are but did say he felt hopeful yet cautious about the meeting.
We reached out the Imerys Talc Mill America for comment and have not heard back.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News