D.W. Dickey Teamster Local 92 drivers on strike

Bill Campf, a member of Teamsters Local 92, designs a sign for the picket line outside D.W. Dickey on Mulberry Street in East Liverpool. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)

EAST LIVERPOOL — Truck drivers with Teamsters Local 92 were on the picket line Thursday at two D.W. Dickey & Sons sites in the city, waiting for word that contract talks will resume but adamant they won’t be working if they aren’t treated fairly.

Trucks driven by private contractors were still coming into the cement plant located on River Road Thursday morning as two pickets sat outside the gate, but the longtime employees said no work was being done at the site, with just one non-union worker inside helping unload them.

At the site on Mulberry Street, other pickets also said operations had been curtailed by the strike, with some traffic coming in and out but little actual work taking place.

There are 23 union workers between the company’s three locations in East Liverpool, Lisbon and Columbiana, with another 10 at a plant in Steubenville not currently on strike.

According to employees on the picket line, the Steubenville workers’ contract has also expired at this point and, while not on strike themselves, they are nonetheless supporting them by not crossing the picket line or working.

The Teamsters on the picket line said they work hard for the company and, although they have received a raise each year, those have not been “significant,” amounting to about 20 cents per hour, sometimes less.

Most said they have been loyal, longtime employees, such as shop steward Frankie Youst, who has 44 years with the company, and Jim Davis, a driver with 31 years.

“The guys work hard; you would think the company would take that into consideration,” driver Jeff Cornell said.

They said the company serves a wide area, with both commercial and residential customers.

Local 92 President Doyle Baird was on the East Liverpool site Thursday, having spoken earlier in the morning with company spokesman Steve Noble.

“He informed me the company is still holding its position on the offer it made,” Baird said. “He just dug in his heels and said, ‘No.'”

That offer, he has said, is a one-year contract extension and a $2,000 signing bonus but no salary increase, which the union has rejected in two votes, asking instead for a three-year contract with a wage increase over that period and continuing no contribution to health insurance.

He has said workers were willing to accept the one-year extension if a $1 per hour salary increase was added, but that was rejected by the company.

Baird said deciding to strike was a “tough decision” for the workers, saying, “They work hard, putting in 60 hours a week, and what was offered was a slap in the face. The economy is booming.”

According to Baird, the company has not yet given its best and final offer, and he said, “I hope there is still room to negotiate.”

At this time, no new talks are scheduled.

A company official inside the River Road plant declined to comment on the situation.