The drivers’ strike at Maple City Ice has now reached six weeks and counting. The striking workers are not asking for salary increases, additional health care benefits, or longer vacations. They are simply asking that their current pension program be left intact. It has been their retirement system since they were hired by the company. The four workers I spoke with have put in 35, 30, 28, and 27 years in company service. Now they’re being told that Maple City Ice wants out of the Central State pension plan.
In place of their monthly retirement checks, Maple City Ice wants to give the workers a lump sum retirement payment based on seniority. In fairness, the Central State retirement system is experiencing financial problems.This is true of many retirement systems throughout the United States. Strong efforts, which are being made to stabilize the system, appear to be making progress.
The strikers have been working without a contract since February 2017. Their income is almost exclusively based on commission. In lieu of a higher base pay or an increase in the commission on the products they sell the workers have consistently told the company to take those raises and place them in their pension plan. This has been done in contract after contract.
I ask that you put yourself in their place. Imagine that you’re very close to retirement when you’re told that the retirement you had worked for with the same company all these years was simply not going to be there for you.
These strikers, who have families, are men of integrity who feel so strongly about maintaining their retirement system that they have gone out on strike.
It is the only option that they feel they have. To correct this injustice they are putting everything on the line.
Being local men, they want to thank the community for its overwhelming support of their cause.
I encourage everyone to continue to help these men reach a fair and just resolution of their retirement grievance.