Accident at New Flyer Non-Union Plant Highlights Need for a Worker Voice

Last week at a non-union New Flyer bus part fabrication plant in Shepherdsville, Ky., Jennifer, a worker who was using a machine missing its safety guard, lost part of her finger in an accident. When she raced to the first-aid kit on-site, she found nothing but Band-Aids. To add insult to serious injury, her coworker was fired for speaking up for her shortly after the accident.

"I was trying to stand-up for the health and safety of my co-workers,” said Stephen Thompson, Jennifer’s coworker and cousin. “The company failed to keep one worker safe, which is how she lost her finger. They then failed to keep other workers safe from bloodborne pathogens. I wanted to blow the whistle on their lack of safety and the company fired me for speaking up. Workers deserve to be safe at work."

CWA Local 7034 represents workers at New Flyer facilities in Minnesota, and workers at the non-union plant in Kentucky have been organizing around safety and wages.

“I hope Jennifer gets all the help she needs and makes a quick recovery,” said Matt Lelou, President of CWA Local 7304. “I hope the workers in Kentucky realize the best way to implement safety into their workplace is to have a voice in the process. Unions are the only way to ensure the rank and file are heard clearly. Our brothers and sisters at New Flyer Crookston and St. Cloud stand in support of our friends in Kentucky.”

In a sign of growing anger and solidarity, workers are wearing stickers that say “I stand with Jennifer,” in both the Kentucky plant and the union plants in Minnesota.

To show solidarity, workers are wearing stickers in both the Kentucky plant and the union plants in Minnesota.