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    Posted June 9, 2014 by
    crystal5971
    Location
    Aiken, South Carolina
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The written word: Your personal essays

    The Nightmare which became MY REALITY

     
    Can you image reporting to a job that has allowed you to be self-sustaining for 5 to 40 years just to be turned around by local police because your employer has demanded that you not be allowed on the premises? That is exactly what happened to my co-workers and I. On May 1, 2014, KAGY-Aiken plant began executing a plan to lock out and refuse to allow its 500+ employees on the premises. Why? It is simple; we are unionized. We refuse to allow AGY to raise their profit margins by robbing us. We will not give up our seniority and think it is deplorable that we would be expected to. AGY was once a company that celebrated and awarded us for years of service. They are now the cowards that would demand we continue our employment with a 24 hour facility, around the clock, rotating shifts, with no holiday pay or job security in respect to this ridiculous point system they propose. In all the years I have been employed with AGY, I have never viewed our management as the tyrant, unethical beings they are now proving themselves to be. I have never wondered why we are unionized at AGY and now, I thank God for our union.
    I have never been thrown out of anything in my life; nor have I ever been treated like a criminal. It sickens me that this nightmare has become my reality. My co-workers and I have been tossed out and treated like common criminals by a place we once thought our presence, our sweat, and our sacrifices mattered to. AGY was once synonymous with family to us. With the schedule we worked, 7 days on 1st shift followed by 1 day off, 7 days on 2nd shift followed by 1 day off, 7 days on 3rd shift followed by 5 days off, we spent more time on the clock than we did in our own homes with family bonded by blood. We have missed more events in the lives of our immediate family than we have been present for. Missed birthdays, holidays, our children's first steps, among other sacrifices we made to sustain our livelihoods and fulfill our contractual obligation to AGY. A fair wage, holiday pay, paid overtime, service days, paid vacation, and time and a half on Sunday are not sacrifices AGY made for us. All of the aforementioned are rewards we deserve because of our sacrifices and our hard work. It is our work, our attention to detail, and our careful inspection of every product we produce that has allowed AGY the success it has achieved. Sadly, it is the revenue our work generated, with the assistance of some influential people in high places with much power, that AGY seems to have the upper hand in tossing us out like yesterdays news.
    Does anyone care about the employees of AGY? What about us? Is it fair, or even acceptable, that we have been forced to turn our backs on our livelihoods for political activism and propaganda? We are nothing more than pawns in a game that, I feel, was never a personal attack on any of us. We were underestimated and consequently, caught in the line of fire. Fully expected to turn our backs on our union, we refused because we are the union. And after being locked out more than 5 weeks, we still refuse because we remain, the union. I can proudly say, our elected union representatives has never turned their backs on us, nor will we ever turn our backs on each other; however, not one AGY employee will ever say the same of our employer.

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