One week into the strike, Teamsters and supporters rally in Grand Rapids

On a sunny Friday afternoon, Teamsters Local 346 stood outside the plant they usually work at, and rallied for a fair contract.

Members of the union rejected UPM Blandin’s offer on Friday, July 14th, and went on strike the following morning at 6am.

The plant has stopped operating. Other Teamsters and unions joined in on the rally on Friday.

“We are so grateful to the community,” shared Jeff Oveson, President of Local 346. “From horn honking to hand shaking, to donations, people in Grand Rapids really support us. We are disappointed that we didn’t get anywhere in the recent talks with the company.”

Blandin sent a statement on Thursday, which said, “Blandin Paper Company’s negotiating team met with the Teamsters Local 346 membership as planned Thursday, July 20th following the Teamsters’ failure to ratify the offer previously agreed to on June 22 at the bargaining table.  During today’s negotiations we exchanged proposals.  At this time our proposals are fundamentally different.  We are now going to take the time to review both proposals and consider potential paths to finding an agreement.  We’ve proposed August 2 to resume discussions. The Company remains engaged in and committed to the bargaining process.  We are hopeful we can move forward and reach an agreement when negotiations resume.”