Today marks Day 77 of the strike by members of Teamsters’ Union Local 20. At the center of the situation is the failing Central States Pension Plan.
Maple City Ice and Teamsters representatives repeatedly have declined or been unavailable for comment recently.
The Reflector emailed Pat Hipp, Maple City Ice president, the following questions Wednesday:
• What kind of progress has been made from Day 1?
• What offers have been made by either side?
• Do you envision a time when there will be a resolution to this strike and/or the pension plan situation? Why or why not?
• When do the two sides plan to meet again?
“No comment at this time,” Hipp said in an email.
The Teamsters’ business representative, Mark Schmiehausen, was unavailable for comment about the same questions this week. Teamsters members and supporters, who were at the tent set up at the corner of the Maple City Ice property, declined to be interviewed Wednesday. The tent has been manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week since the beginning of the strike.
As many as 15 drivers were on strike at one point. One driver said Friday night the striking drivers are in it for the long haul.
The drivers have said they have earned the money the company puts into the plan. Maple City Ice has said it doesn’t want to throw money into a failing pension plan.
One driver has said the drivers have given up pay-raises for pension money during the last three contracts. He also said that amounts to $8,300 of their money — not Maple City Ice’s money — that goes into the Central States pension plan per year.
Despite not working, 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 earlier.
About Day 35 of the strike, Hipp said Maple City is “continuing to deliver beer to all of our accounts, with the help of family members and friends.”
The two sides met three times in September for negotiating sessions. It’s unknown when, or if, they will meet again.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently joined U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio-13th district) and Ohio retirees at Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown to announce Brown’s plans to introduce legislation intended to ensure Ohio retirees can keep the pensions they have earned.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Managing editor Joe Centers contributed to this story.