Marshall UAW strike

HARRISON COUNTY, Texas -- Saturday marked a full week since contract talks broke down between Prysmian Group and 200 workers at their plant outside Marshall, Texas. 

In the days since, members of the United Auto Workers union have been picketing around the clock. But that's lead to another dispute, involving neighbors who live right across the street from the plant, which manufactures cables for power lines and telecommunications systems.

The Prysmian employees have been on strike since March 26, accusing the company of denying their requests for fair wages. Though the Saturday of Easter weekend brought out a small crowd of workers, several dozen people gathered outside the plant along U.S. Highway 80 to wave signs, chant "Strike until it's right!" and encourage passing traffic to honk their horns in support of their cause.

"We work for this community," said Earl Roberts, the chairman of UAW Chapter 3057. "We spend our money in the community."

Roberts says the UAW had yet to hear from Prysmian to restart talks since they went on strike, but he hoped they're having an impact.

"[The plant] shut down this weekend, which hasn't happened in years," said Roberts. "This is a rotating shift plant, a 24/7 facility has to run like that. I guess they shut down for some reason but we hadn't seen the parking lot that empty in years."

Roberts can't say for sure how soon they might return to the negotiating table.

"We just wait, we just keep staying out here and doing all we got to do," said Roberts.

But it's not just the workers waiting for the strike to end, the past week has been difficult for neighbors who live right across the street.

"[Friday,] I came home and they were blasting music with generators so loud, you couldn't tell what it was," said Darrel Ritter, who said the traffic from the plant had never been as noisy before the strike began.

Ritter said he supports the union's fight for fair wages, but doesn't like the way the striking workers have conducted themselves.

"The noise in general is disrupting our lives," said Ritter. "They have no regard for anybody other than themselves."

Ritter said he's spoken with members of the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, but was told there's not much they can do because there's no noise ordinance in the area. Roberts said deputies also stop by the picket line frequently and the UAW members have stayed in accordance with the laws.

Prysmian Group, which owns the plant, is headquartered in Milan, Italy. Given the time difference and the holiday weekend, the company has not responded to KTBS 3's request for comment. This story will be updated when we receive a response.

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