“We are continuing to deliver beer to all of our accounts, with the help of family members and friends. The next negotiations are scheduled for this Friday,” company president Pat Hipp said in a brief statement emailed to the Reflector.
Today is Day 35 of the strike by the drivers in Teamsters’ Local Union 20. The drivers started striking Sept. 1 over a failing pension fund.
“For the record, Maple City Ice Co. is in step with other companies trying to negotiate out of the Central States Pension Fund,” Hipp said in an earlier emailed statement, referring to Kroger Co., a retail food chain.
The two sides met for negotiation sessions Sept. 15 and 19 and again most recently Friday. The Sept. 19 session was with a federal mediator. However, Hipp and Maple City Ice have declined to comment on the talks this week and Mark Schmiehausen, a Teamsters trustee and business representative, has been unavailable for comment.
As many as 15 drivers were on strike at one point.
A tent set up by local Teamsters and their supporters has been manned 24 hours, seven days a week at the corner of the Maple City Ice property.
“There’s always someone here,” a union member said Monday.
Despite the strike, the drivers on the picket line are receiving what’s known as strike pay.
“You had to be off 11 days and then it kicks in,” a union member said.
The same Teamster credited the local community for being supportive of the striking drivers and said you couldn’t find anything better.
“The community is just outstanding. God bless them all,” he said. “The people are just fantastic.”