WEST FARGO — If you saw two giant inflatable rats while driving down I-94 Monday, Aug. 3, they were meant to draw your attention to a labor dispute.
Representatives from the International Union of Operating Engineers — a union based out of Countryside, Ill. — sat outside the headquarters of Titan Machinery in West Fargo, calling for fair contracts.
The issue is for workers in Davenport, Iowa, but union members hope it can spread to West Fargo workers.
"How long will we be there? As long as it takes," said Ed Maher, the union's spokesman. "And if there are only a handful of workers, we're still gonna go to the bats for them, because that's our job."
Maher said the union — which has about 23,000 members — has been trying to negotiate a deal on behalf of the workers for over a year.
He said a key sticking point is customers are currently being charged more for the equipment Titan sells, while workers are being paid less.
Maher hopes the protest can help speed up negotiations.
"We just need to occasionally remind people how committed we are," he said. "We're not going to go away, we're not going to forget about these workers."