Meet John Doe: Join Nippon Sharyo workers in their Show of Solidarity in Rochelle Dec. 11

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Employees at the Nippon Sharyo plant in Rochelle, Illinois, have been working with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 for about four months to unionize plant workers. IBEW Local 134 and these workers invite the community to a Show of Solidarity rally from 3 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11, at the gates of the Nippon Sharyo plant,1600 Ritchie Court, Rochelle, Illinois.

Approximately 500 workers, building electric-powered passenger rail cars, could become part of the IBEW bargaining unit at the plant. The workers want “a democratic voice in the workplace and socioeconomic fairness,” according to Charles Laskonis, IBEW state organizing coordinator, membership development.

The rally is part of the workers’ effort to raise union support and awareness. The IBEW has not petitioned for an election, but will once it reaches its target number of signed authorization cards.

Local residents are encouraged to join the Show of Solidarity Dec. 11 in Rochelle. Contact Lynn Arwood, IBEW regional organizing coordinator, Sixth District, at to learn more about the rally or to get involved.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

Posted Dec. 9, 2014

10 thoughts on “Meet John Doe: Join Nippon Sharyo workers in their Show of Solidarity in Rochelle Dec. 11

  • Dec 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    This is a completely union fueled article and rally. The nippon employees and myself are not interested in being unionized. There will be a sizable opposition against the union at the “rally”. The IBEW 134 is not welcome at our facility.

  • Dec 11, 2014 at 6:23 am

    You should probably get your facts straight!!! There only a few employees of Nippon that wants this crappy union!!! There are over 200 employees that are 10000% against it and want them to quit harassing us at our home and through email and mail!!! Don’t worry we will stand our ground

  • Dec 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    No union is welcome at nippon sharyo.. majority of employees are against the union..

  • Dec 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    This is complete IBEW propaganda. The vast majority of Nippon Sharyo employees, including myself, want nothing to do with the IBEW! Nippon Sharyo is not only a great place to work, it is also the safest place I’ve ever worked. Go home and plot to get your hands in someone else’s pockets IBEW! Keep your hands out of ours!!

  • Dec 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Huge opposition to the rally alright. Like 7 anti union workers showed up. There is plenty need for a union in this shop. People are to busy drinking managements kool aid to realize it.

  • Dec 11, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you all for commenting.

    As for for being a “union fueled” article, it is an article about the union trying to organize at the plant. And a union leader is quoted. I thought I played it down a bit. IBEW leaders probably would have liked to see a more “rah rah” article, but I wrote it pretty much as straight news, not commentary.

    Fortunately, this fine paper allows people to comment uncensored, so you were able to comment on the article without censoring.

    As to whether a minority or majority of workers at the plant support the union, that remains to be seen. If the yet gets enough people to sign their cards, a vote can be held.

    For those new to my Meet John Doe column: many of the articles are about being getting involved, taking a stand on their own behalf. An organizing rally fits the scope of the column quite well.

    Thank you for reading The Rock River Times.


    Paul Gorski

  • Dec 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Hello Readers,

    I’ve been told that approximately 80 pro-union people attended the rally. I was also told that seven anti-union people attended the rally, consistent with the post by reader “Shane A”. Not sure if that is conclusive evidence for support of the union, but it would appear to be a good sign.

    I know the emotions run strong on both sides of the union debate. Again, this column does emphasize people getting involved, taking a stand and protecting their rights. A union organizing rally fits that mold.

    Thank you for reading, even if you disagree.

    Paul Gorski

  • Jan 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Paul. Once again. Your information is false. The number was much closer to 20 pro union people. Only about 5 were actually from the IBEW. A handful were from completely different unions. And the rest were retirees that were being paid by the union. Not one single nippon employee stood with the ibew. Since the rally, almost all attempts from the IBEW have stoped. And after all of the “unsafe” claims, nippon has had many visits from osha. Each visit has come up with zero osha violations. And the ibew has since DROPPED all 7 of the federal charges against Nippon. The ibew is dead in the water, and they know it now. I appreciate the attention you have drawn to this matter Paul. But we just want to be left alone to work in peace. Thank you.

  • Jan 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm


    Two different readers, one a union member and one who didn’t identify as a union member told me about 80 “pro-union” people. I didn’t say works, I didn’t say IBEW members. Then a local union leader told me over 80. So unless all three got together and coordinated their stories, I’d have to go with those reports on the attendance. (Now that could have happened, but since the one union leader wasn’t prompted for a count and hadn’t read the article, I doubt the coordinated effort to deceive me.)

    If there are any other items in the article you challenge, call them out, please.

    I am curious why you object to union representation. Have you ever been a member of the IBEW?

    Thanks for reading The Rock River Times and submitting your comments. Really.

  • Jan 12, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Brad K:

    You are simply way, way off regarding a number of facts including the number of “pro union people” at the rally and IBEW people attending. How could you possibly know where they were from? Your are either not very observant or you are manufacturing details out of thin air. I suspect the latter.

    There were at least fifty active IBEW members who participated from nine different IBEW locals alone. There were a number of other unions that participated in support and solidarity as well, as if that is a somehow negative thing as you seem to imply. On the contrary support from the entire labor community is a very positive thing. There is strength in numbers and union members support other union members regardless of their affiliation.

    There were a handful of retirees that participated, however they are members too and often volunteer for rallies and other political action, even thought they are retired. Many retirees though no longer working feel compelled to participate because they benefitted from unionism and they want to give something back to the movement that they have been part of most of their working lives. If you mean the retirees were “paid” to be there because they are currently receiving pension contributions you are correct in a roundabout way, however if you are implying they got paid extra to be there that is simply not true, nor are they required to attend to receive their pension contribution.

    Another fallacy is your claim that the organizing drive has “stoped” [sic]. It has not ceased by any means and is proceeding onward. I also take issue with your claim that the workers are not interested. Judging by your earlier woefully inaccurate remarks the conclusions you draw are obviously greatly flawed. A good number of workers are very interested and we continue to gain supporters as each day passes.

    All a union does is merely empower workers by bringing the virtue of democracy to their workplace. You and some other workers should not be frightened by that. Democracy after all, is what our own nation is founded upon.

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