ATPUK 3rd Shift Workers Protest Management Plan to Move Them to 2nd Shift
On Tuesday, April 27, Cummins RMEP 3rd shift workers in Assembly/Test/Paint/Upfit/Kitting stopped production in protest of Plant Manager John Judd’s unilateral announcement that 3rd shift would be permanently moved to 2nd shift starting July 12, 2021. The managers informed the Cell Team Leaders of the company’s plan at a 9 PM shift start meeting. This news shocked the CLTs, who then took this news to the shop floor workers, who reacted with widespread disapproval.
Team 1 workers walked to Team 2, who joined them in a workers protest march that continued through Teams 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9. At Team 9, workers confronted Director Kamal Ganapathy, who asked them to go back to work to no avail. Management even tried to divide and conquer by telling some workers that others had returned to work, which was not true.
Workers remained united. The work stoppage continued in Test/Paint/Upfit and Kitting as no engines came over from Assembly. After workers made it clear they would not run the line, management sent the whole shift home at 1 AM. Third shift workers felt John Judd had slapped them in the face. Judd did not allow workers’ input in this drastic decision that directly affects the lives of workers and their families. Workers have worked in the plant through COVID, not getting an annual merit raise or across the board raise last year, not getting a COVID bonus until this year, while other area companies had paid their workers several COVID bonuses. Workers have worked through weekends to meet customer demand. Workers have sacrificed to produce engines so Cummins can make millions in profits. RMEP workers deserve fairness!
Two years ago, RMEP management announced the plant would transition from rotating shifts to fixed shifts. Workers were surveyed, and the majority favored 1st and 3rd shift, not 1st and 2nd shift. Workers then volunteered for 3rd shift. Third shift workers feel like they have met company expectations for production and made other personal sacrifices to work on 3rd shift, even when the company moved the start time up to 9:30 PM. Third shift workers have continually asked John Judd for more support. Instead of more support, Judd planned to move hundreds of workers to 2nd shift and disrupt their families in order to placate a few dozen salaried IT and engineering support who did not want to work third shift.
The following evening, April 28, 3rd shift workers returned to RMEP. Judd and Ganapathy met with the CLTs and informed them that the move to 2nd shift was cancelled and a memo confirming this reversal would be forthcoming. Workers celebrated this news as a victory due to their collective action and unity.
Workers United Can Not Be Defeated!
Carolina Auto, Aerospace & Machine Workers Union- UE Local 150
P.O. Box 6937, Rocky Mount, NC 27802
President Jimmie Thorne – 252-955-5016