A strike at nonunion Instafab is now in its eighth month, with no resolution in sight.
The strike began Feb. 27 when five workers walked off the job at the Vancouver steel fabrication and erection company to protest wages and working conditions.
“We want to be treated fair. That’s all we want,” says striker Matt Momb.
Other workers have since joined the strike, bringing the total to 16.
Strikers have the support of Iron Workers Locals 29 and 516, and Portland Jobs with Justice. They have appealed to Instafab customers like Anderson Construction and Skanska to drop the company, but it’s not clear Instafab has lost any business thus far — just employees.
Since July, neither side has attempted to make contact with the other. In June, Instafab owner Bruce Perkins said he wanted to meet with workers — in online comments at this newspaper’s web site. After that, the two sides worked out plans to a meet July 8 at a Vancouver church, and workers agreed to Perkins’ condition that there be no representatives of the Iron Workers union present. But Perkins backed out when he learned that Portland Jobs with Justice executive director Diana Pei Wu would be attending.
So far, several strikers have found work elsewhere, and two strikers have returned to work, though one later returned to the strike.
Iron Workers Local 29 President Robert Camarillo says Instafab has made some improvements since the strike began — raising wages, installing an additional port-a-potty, and improving the employer-provided health insurance.
Strikers are waiting for action from the National Labor Relations Board. The union has four charges against Instafab alleging violations of federal labor law. One of the charges stems from statements Perkins made using an alias at nwlaborpress.org. All four charges are pending investigation, and so is a charge
Instafab filed filed by an Instafab employee against Local 29.