LIMA — LIUNA Local 329 has refused to back down from the fight with the Cenovus Refinery to keep them from outsourcing jobs. Thursday afternoon saw their biggest demonstration to date, with a large crowd on hand outside the refinery voicing their displeasure with the company.
The movement has grown into something bigger than just a spat between a corporation and a union. LIUNA has become a lightning rod for the other skilled trades who want to be seen and heard, and they made themselves heard on Thursday.
The union was again met with an endless line of drive-by support from rush hour traffic coming down Metcalf Street.
“It’s just a great support for everyone because nobody likes to see their jobs go away,” said Lima Building Trades President Rick Perdue. “After COVID with a lot of people being laid off and having to travel, this work that’s here is work that our members would be doing that they have done in the past.”
Perdue also noted that the Lima Building Trades have met with Cenovus regularly, but nothing they have brought to the table has changed their mind.
“We continue to meet with them on a monthly basis, but it looks like they’re set on what they’re going to do, so people have to do what we have to do,” he said.
The same sentiment was shared by David Cox, business agent for the local ironworkers union.
“We’re fighting for jobs for the building trades members and the ironworkers are definitely a big part of the building trades,” he said. “And when the refinery decides to bring people in from a totally different part of the country to demand these jobs that we’ve been doing for decades and decades, it really stinks. These people make a living out of this place here.”
The movement has gone regional. Workers flooded in from surrounding areas to be a part of the demonstration. Union organizer Taft Mangas has seen the movement grow firsthand, being one of the first union members to bring the issue to light.
“These are people from all over the region of Ohio now, instead of just the local members and a couple members here and there of different unions,” he said. “We have more vocal support from the ironworkers and the boilermakers and that means a lot to us, instead of just having the diplomatic approach that everyone was willing to get behind.”
Mangas also said that the union will continue to make themselves heard, with more demonstrations being planned within the coming weeks.
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398