Protests continue during Hartford Distributors negotiations - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Protests continue during Hartford Distributors negotiations

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Protesters returned to the front of Hartford Distributors in Manchester Thursday. (WFSB photo) Protesters returned to the front of Hartford Distributors in Manchester Thursday. (WFSB photo)
MANCHESTER, CT. (WFSB) -

Protesters returned to Hartford Distributors in Manchester Thursday as contract negotiations continued.

The business on Chapel Road kept its doors locked when more than 100 union workers showed up to work on Wednesday morning.

The locked doors caused about 120 union workers to miss a day of work.  

However, those workers said they're willing to stay outside with signs as long as it takes.

"It just, you know, for the cause, for the workers," said Allan Czaja, HDI worker.

The dispute ran through the night.

According to employees, the Teamsters Local 1035 has been in negotiations over its contract, which expired on April 30.

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, members were locked out of the negotiations.

Since Wednesday morning, there has been some progress. Proposals were exchanged by both sides. However, nothing was finalized.

HDI, which transports beer, brought in temporary workers, which further angered its union counterparts.

"To me, I don't know who's in there," said Chris Roos, union spokesman, Local 1035. "I don't know what kind of employees they are. I don't know who they are and they're out in this community. They're not from around here. Did you notice the license plates? They're from Virginia, they're from Vermont, they're from Washington. You don't know these people."

This August will mark six years since a former employee shot and killed eight HDI workers before turning the gun on himself.

The job means a lot to these workers, according to employees. Some have been there for 40 years, including during the shooting.

That's why they feel the company turned its back on them.

HDI has not commented on the lockout.

Both sides are expected to meet again on Thursday, though workers told Eyewitness News that they're prepared to file for unemployment benefits if talks break down.

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