On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Steve Bullock pulled up before the gates of Imerys America’s talc-milling plant in Three Forks and spent more than an hour lending his support to a group of 35 unionized plant employees who have been locked out of their jobs since Aug. 2, when contract negotiations between the company and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers’ Local D-239 broke down.

Speaking before a crowd of workers, members of their families and other sympathetic parties, Bullock implored workers to “stand strong.”