Labor dispute at Three Forks talc mill could cause lockout of union employees

The Imerys talc mill in Three Forks is facing a union lockout if its members don’t accept a new contract from the mill’s French owners — a contract the union members have already rejected three times. The lockout would leave 32 union members and their families without paychecks or health care for an undetermined amount of time.

Union President Randy Tocci said he was informed of the lockout on Monday around 2 p.m. If the union doesn’t accept the contract, the lockout will take effect Thursday at 7 p.m. Union employees will be kept off the property and new employees, colloquially known as “scabs,” will be hired to fill union members’ positions.