Teamsters Local 743 on Strike

From our TDU local:


Dear Sisters and Brothers from the Friend Family support list,

Workers at SK Hand Tools in Chicago (3535 W. 47th St.) and McCook
(9500 W. 55th St.) voted unanimously to STRIKE as of Tuesday, August
25, 2009!  Please forward this e-mail to friends and allies.

Strike support will be needed on a 24/7 basis at both locations –
please contact the Teamsters Local 743 union hall at (773) 254-7460
for more information.

For Immediate Release:
For More Information:
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sarah Hainds, (773) 254-7460

Cell: (773) 860-0306

Teamsters Strike Over Lost Health Insurance

Workers and their families forced to delay important medical treatment

Teamsters Local 743 union members working at SK Hand Tools voted
unanimously to strike today at 3:30pm due to the company’s unilateral
withdrawal of the workers’ health insurance without notice.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has issued an unfair labor
practice complaint alleging that the company has bargained illegally
by stopping health care coverage without notice.

“President Obama is leading a national debate about how to protect
hard-working Americans from callous employers like SK Hand Tools,”
said Teamsters Local 743 president Richard Berg.  “This French-owned
company has left us no choice but to strike for our basic needs,
health care,” he continued.

SK Hand Tools has been making high quality metal tools in Chicago for
88 years.  SK workers have been in contract negotiations for nine
months.  The company has been in the Teamsters union since 1968.

“We are willing to make concessions to save the company,” union
steward David Biedrzycki stated, “but we can’t lose our health
insurance.  They expect us to pay for our health coverage
out-of-pocket when they’re also asking for a 20% pay cut – we can’t
afford this!”  The workers’ wages have been frozen for the last six

The workers currently earn on average $14 per hour.  The pay reduction
that management is proposing includes an additional $4 cut in the
first 6 months, which would lower that average to just over minimum
wage.  SK Hand Tools employs about 70 workers.

SK Hand Tools sells its merchandise through its website and through
stores like Sears & Roebuck and  SK also makes some of the
Sears Craftsman products.

Teamsters Local 743 represents 11,000 workers throughout the
Chicagoland area working in manufacturing, health care, clerical, food
service, warehouse and maintenance industries.