Ohio: Kongsberg Automotive Holding locks out USWA workers, hires temp. workers and the fear of global environment

Workers at the Kongsberg Automotive Holding facility, formerly known as Teleflex, have been locked out by the company after failing to approve a contract which asked for deep pay cuts and increased health care costs, not much more information is known aside from the fact that the company has been bringing in replacement workers.

From TimesBulletin.com (4/01/08) :
Contract negotiations between Kongsberg Automotive Holding, formerly known as Teleflex, and the 328 United Steel Workers employed at the Van Wert facility took on a more ominous tone on Tuesday.

A labor contract offer, which was given to union representatives last Friday afternoon, will be voted on by the employees tonight at 8 p.m. The president of the United Steel Workers local, Aaron Collins, was informed on Tuesday by Kongsberg officials that if the union does not ratify the contract as offered, union employees will be locked out of the facility starting at 10 p.m. tonight.

"Knowing what they're going to do doesn't help the vote, and it doesn't hurt the vote's chances," said Collins. "I just want everyone to know what is going on before we decide."

The issues remaining between the two sides involve deep pay cuts, pension plan changes, and health insurance costs.
Apparently the members did not ratify the contract, heres more info from From TimesBulletin.com (4/04/08) :
VAN WERT - The first full day of the lockout at Kongsberg Automotive saw no changes in either labor or management positions. Workers who voted down the auto parts manufacturer's contract offer stood just off company property with picket signs. Meanwhile private security remained on site at the facility to make sure the locked out workers stayed out.

Early in the morning hours, windows at the facility were boarded up and private buses began bringing in replacement workers to make parts for considerably less wages than the locked-out employees.

Meanwhile city officials expressed their hope for an early end to the lockout. "I just hope the union and company management can get this worked out," stated Nancy Bowen, Van Wert County economic development director. "I think everybody feels the same. We'll do anything we can do to help, and I've let the company know that."
Read More
Which leaves us with the latest news from TimesBulletin.com (4/05/08)

Picketers from the local United Steel Workers union watch as replacement laborers leave the Kongsberg Automotive facility in Van Wert. State and local officials met with Kongsberg management on Friday in an effort to bring an end to the lock out.

Meeting Held with Kongsberg Automotive Lock out continues despite effort

State and local officials met with Kongsberg Automotive representatives today to convey the importance of the plant to the local, regional and state economy and to express the desire to work with the company to retain and expand the plant in Van Wert County. Officials also expressed the desire to maintain open lines of communication with the company while they work to resolve labor issues and maintain their customer base.
Company representatives assured state and local officials that they are committed to the Van Wert facility and want to increase the productivity of the plant to attract new work and stay competitive in a global environment.
Wheres the story about the workers? How many are involved? It seems evident that this company is trying to break the union.

The line "stay competitive in a global environment" about sums it up as far as what Free Trade has done to the workers in the United States, while the Clinton administration sold us the first of which, NAFTA, under the promise of it bringing up the workers in Mexico, and with the continuance of such "Free Trade" agreements in the Bush Administration creating this "Global economy", has done exactly the opposite, they have pitted the 3rd. world workforce against us as a bargaining chip.

Over 470 textile mills have relocated to places where workers make about $60 a month. While the corporate media urged consumerism amongst the citizens, and banks with the encouragement of the Fed gave out mortgages to those who couldn't afford it and Big Boxes such as Wal-Mart through Lobbyists and anti-union campaigns sold you the idea of lower prices. We are now entering this brave new third world.

This is not a recession, this is an adjustment into the global economy, and when you need to place the blame, you should only get as far as the mirror, for your allowance to be mislead and letting big business know matter of factly by your purchasing foreign products, that you didn't give one shit about American jobs. So now lie in your beds, you helped to make them.

Now the administration is jamming the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which Hillary's campaign chief strategist Mark Penn has an involvement through his law firm and has been in meetings with ambassadors of that country, is being jammed down our throats.

It's not too late to sway this, you have to get involved. Say no to the Colombian Free trade Agreement
Act Now! Click Below!!

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Thanks to Omaha Steve at Democratic Undergrounds' Labor section for the initial story
Democratic Underground
and to Jason Lefkowitz at the Change to Win WebBlog for the Hillary campaign info
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bendygirl said...

from the posting above:"Nancy Bowen, Van Wert County economic development director. "I think everybody feels the same. We'll do anything we can do to help, and I've let the company know that."

Ohio's home to me and Van Wert is usually the butt of most Ohio jokes when we aren't talking about Cinci-tucky. Van Wert is vastly rural and a part of the well known Ohio Bible belt. Why is this important, re-read the comment from Nancy...she's told the company she'll help any way she can. Did she contact the union? Did she express solidarity with the workers? Did she call the scabs out for taking jobs away from the unionized Steelworkers? No, she offered to help the company any way she can. Somehow, I think her help would be to continue to screw the workers in this ultra conservative Right wing area of Ohio known as Van Wert county.

Anonymous said...

I am from Kongsberg where this case has gotten major coverage today. I feel really bad for these workers. Feels like no job in the US is safe. If its more profitable (and thus your products get cheaper/more competitive) to move it somewhere else then they will do so. Makes me feel sick that it has to be this way. Soon every production job will be in a low cost country. :-/

Unknown said...

From Norway too, and an employer/owner of a firm. Never been a union guy, but never opposed them either, as they are a valuable contribution to our society. It's really shameful that Norwegian businesses act this way once they're out of the sphere of Norwegian laws. The US economy is struggling, and the main reason for this, is that the middle class has been eroded away over the last couple of decades. I wonder when american industry will figure out that they will profit from having high wages, as that means people will have money to buy their products. What will GM do when noone can afford to buy their cars, because all their subcontractors no longer hire americans with a decent paycheck?

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