There’s a show of solidarity for the nine week strike at Nichols Aluminum in Davenport. That’s as union members from the Quad Cities and across the midwest joined forces outside the plant’s entrance on Monday.
As dozens of union supporters line the street to Nichols Aluminum in Davenport, Teamsters Local 371 President Howard Spoon offers his gratitude to those supporting his 235 striking workers.
“I want to thank you guys for coming out,” he said. “I really appreciate it.”
There are cheers for the Nichols workforce. On strike since January 20, the major hang-ups hinge on health insurance — the coverage and cost being passed on to employees. It’s something that stings 35-year Nichols staffer Kevin Dodds.
“Corporate America wants to take everybody’s benefits and bring back slavery to the working people,” he said.
Both sides are due back at the bargaining table on Tuesday morning. A company representative wasn’t available for comment on Monday.
Supporters from the Quad Cities and neighboring states brought signs. There was a rally atmosphere along the picket line. The Teamsters even brought semi-trucks from Chicago and Indiana to show support.
“Hopefully, they can work it out,” said Penny Hahn, Walcott, whose brother and brother-in-law each work at the plant. “They have to work it out.”
Through all of this, Nichols Aluminum continues to function. It’s making products for the construction industry with temporary workers and office support.
Getting by on strike pay and part-time jobs, the solidarity boosts morale during trying times for the workforce and company.
“The unions are coming together,” Dodds said. “Hopefully, we band together to protect what we need for ourselves and the future.”
But with both sides divided, it will take more negotiating.
“This company has made an awful lot of money from the hard work of working class people,” Spoon said.