THREE FORKS, Mont. — Governor Steve Bullock expressed his support for 33 union workers in Three Forks Thursday.
The governor traveled from Helena to the Imerys talc mill plant where workers have been picketing round-the-clock since being locked-out August 3rd following failed contract negotiations.
Bullock told them to keep fighting, but he also recognized that as the governor he does not have the power to bring the French-owned multinational company back to the bargaining table.
Dozens of supporters also came out to stand in solidarity with the workers and to hear Bullock speak.
According to the Governor, there hasn't been a lockout like this in Montana since the 1980s.
"I've seen labor challenges and conflict but we always figure out that path that's a lot better than telling people that have worked at this plant for decades that they aren't allowed back in,” he said.
The workers will run out of insurance in a month.
“I thought there would be long term negotiation but nothing such as a lockout. You know negotiations are tough as is, but then for a company to just turn around and just lock you out -- benefits gone, things like that -- that's really tough,” said Ferguson Gammon, whose wife is expecting and due next month.
The workers report they have not heard from the company since the lockout, and say the company told them its hired scab workers to take their place.
Imerys could not be reached for comment.