Perdue workers walk out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

LEWISTON WOODVILLE – More than 50 workers stood outside Perdue’s Lewiston plant Tuesday and Wednesday to show that they want change.

The livehaul crewmembers did not report for work, stating that they have been mistreated by management and have been forced to work under threatening conditions.

&uot;It’s not that we mind doing the job, or feel like we’re not being paid enough,&uot; said one employee who chose not to reveal his name. &uot;It’s just that we’re under a kind of dictatorial leadership where we can’t voice our opinion.&uot;

The picketing workers said that management was threatening the crew leaders and attempting to get many of the leaders suspended.

&uot;We are constantly being disrespected and that’s not the type of leadership we need to do our job,&uot; said another employee, who chose to remain anonymous.

Perdue Spokesperson, Joe Forsthoffer, said they have invited the crewmembers to share their concerns with management, but workers have yet to do so.

&uot;We’ll take their concerns, as we do the complaints of any associate, seriously,&uot; Forsthoffer said. &uot;Our company has an open door policy that allows any associate to talk to any member of the management.&uot;

Our policy and practice has always been to speak directly with our associates and listen to all sides to determine the facts, he added.

Picketers complained that there are loops in the chain of command, as the problems they take to management are continually sent to other people, so that their issues are never addressed.

The working conditions the employees are under was another rallying point, as they claimed they were forced to work 16 hour days in the summer, where the work is harder – especially in the higher temperatures.

Local management at the plant is trying to investigate, but noted that they have yet to hear from all parties involved.

Despite the seemingly large number of workers that have set up camp at Perdue’s entrance, Forsthoffer said the plant continues to run and that they have made other arrangements to catch the birds and minimize impact on production.

The workers said they will be outside the plant protesting until there is a change of management and a promise of fair treatment.