The showdown between BMW and the 68 union workers set to lose their jobs on August 31 at the Bavarian firm's distribution plant in Ontario, California, continues to escalate after Teamster members and their families protested outside 50 BMW dealerships in 11 states in the beginning of the month.
Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that represents the soon-to-be-laid-off employees said union members of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have been organizing informational pickets at 10 ports in nine countries over the past few days to show their solidarity with the BMW workforce.
"This is what international solidarity is all about: Crossing state lines, seas and borders to help workers whose jobs are threatened," said ITF President Paddy Crumlin.
"BMW is planning to outsource good, middle-class jobs," said Bob Lennox, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 495.
"Many of these employees have worked there for decades – some as long as 30 years. BMW told these workers they were a family, and then proceeded to hire union-hostile lawyers to help it exploit America's plant-closing laws. BMW and its lawyers at Jackson Lewis are condemning 68 American families to poverty and misery" Lennox continued.
In addition to the protests, BMW union workers recently launched a dedicated website under the name "BMW Ultimate Misery" where they have uploaded a series of videos to aid their cause.
On its behalf, BMW said that the decision not to renew the contracts of the 68 workers is not related to the union or wages but about operating its Ontario facility in the same way it does with its other North American plants through third-party workers.
Story Sources: BMW Ultimate Misery , Teamsters