Residents Support Strikers

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Loudon, Loudon County (WVLT) - A couple hundred people took to the streets Monday, showing their support for striking workers at Maremont.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb went to Loudon for a closer look.

It was two weeks ago workers at Maremont walked off their jobs because of disputes over wage and health benefits.

Monday others showed their support as the owner said he's seeking new workers to keep the plant open.

Loudon residents took to the streets to support striking workers outside the town's former Maremont plant.

"A lot of these people out here are friends of mine," says Bill Kollock. "I believe in their cause."

"My dad has worked here for 35 years and I just think it's wrong what's being done to them," says Amy Curtis.

"I'm sad for the folks and how it's all gone between all of us and the community," says Kenneth Banks, Maremont Plant Owner.

Company owner Kenneth Banks says right now he's concentrating on keeping the plant open and is looking for workers. He says he's gotten 45 applications just Monday. "There's a lot of people out of work. There's people coming in saying Mr. Banks I haven't had a job for three months and I'm going to do my best."

Banks admits his best workers are on the street. "We don't have quality control issue here when we had that team in here."

"That goes to show you that Loudon County is behind us and they're not for this guy," says Kenny Guider.

But issues are keeping the boss in the plant and his workers on the picket line.

"We're ready to go back to work if he'll bend a little bit and come across with this seniority and medical thing," says David Moree.

And both sides know a strike cannot last forever.

"We just hope he has more business-sense than ego sense and is willing to settle this strike," Moree says.

"If we don't keep the business open all of this just goes away and there's a for sale sign out in front of the plant," Banks says.

Concerning the million dollar donation Banks gave to the Quarterhorse Foundation for a new hall of fame, Banks says he enjoys giving to charitable organizations and hopes to continue when the strike is over.

Banks says he expects there will be a federal mediator to help in the next negotiations, but at this time there are no negotiations.


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