Several dozen members of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 2701, held a rally Friday afternoon in front of Wells Fargo Bank, 200 South and Main Street, in protest of the company being a major financial source for a Colorado steel company the union claims forced workers to go on strike.
Just as the rally was getting started, a Salt Lake police officer checked to see if the steelworkers had a rally permit.Jerry Sorenson, local vice president and rally organizer, accidentally had left the permit in his car in Magna. He said the strike in Pueblo, Colo., began Oct. 3, 1997, when Oregon Steel/CFI (now Rocky Mountain Steel) forced the employees to go on strike by refusing to bargain a new contract in good faith, something that is required by federal labor laws.
The union filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board, but Sorenson said a ruling hasn't been made yet.
On Dec. 30, the union made an unconditional offer to return to work while contract negotiations continued, but the company rejected the offer and the replacement workers continued to work. This has triggered a back-pay liability of nearly $600,000 per week, Sorenson said.
With the backing of the national AFL-CIO, the steelworkers expanded their consumer boycott of Wells Fargo to 11 cities in eight Western states. Ed Mayne, president of the Utah State AFL-CIO, told those at the rally they have the right to exercise their economic strength where they bank and do their shopping.
On Jan. 30, Mayne issued a letter encouraging all unions to pull their union funds out of Wells Fargo Bank, request members to transfer their personal accounts from the bank and pass out leaflets at Wells Fargo locations explaining the union's position.
Sorenson said the company's action is another example of corporate greed and an affront to working people looking for fair wages, good working conditions and a safe workplace.