About 150 UAW?members and supporters gathered outside Ventra Salem on Wednesday, rallying against the non-union tendencies of the plant's owner, the Flex-N-Gate Corp. The company, which makes components for the auto industry, has more than 400 hourly workers at the Salem facility. The rally started near the afternoon shift change. Departing and arriving workers were greeted by chants of "We are here for you" and "We want to help you." Most of the Ventra workers showed little emotion, although a few honked their horns in support. And one man was seen giving an obscene gesture as he left.
Morning Journal/Patti Schaeffer
Seventy-year-old Bonnie Reinhardt of Salem talks with protesters and reminisces about the 1969 strike at the plant, then known as Warren Molding, she said, because the facility had no heat and the floor was a dirt compound. Reinhardt worked at the plant until March 2009 under its many name changes. She feels most workers are just afraid to speak up for themselves today about wanting to be unionized.