Glass strike ends

Eleven employees at Friedrich and Dimmick, Inc., are anxious to get back to work now that a contract has been reached and a strike that lasted just over a week has come to an end.

A contract between the union and the company, an 84-year-old glass manufacturer, was reached Friday evening halting a strike that began when 18 of the company's 21 union employees walked out at noon May 7.

The workers were striking primarily over the company's intention to make three union positions salaried and allow management to perform duties of union jobs when needed.

The terms of the contract, according to company CEO Joe Plumbo, included the inspector positions becoming salaried, a change in work rules, and slight salary increases.

"We agreed basically on what they offered us," said Jill Sanderlin, a union shop steward who has been with the company for 17 years. "The union inspectors will become salaried and we agreed to let managers do full-time union work if they are needed."

The dwindling group of picketers outside the Lincoln Avenue plant played a role in the strike coming to an end, Sanderlin said.

Three members of the Glass Molders, Plastics and Allied Workers Association, Local 219 did not strike and seven others crossed the picket lines.

"It played a part in it," Sanderlin said. "We were losing more people and losing ground on our end for our contract. With that happening, to preserve the union we settled the contract so there still is one at this point in time."

Sanderlin and 10 other employees who did not cross picket lines are presently laid off.

"We'd love to be able to recall them," Plumbo said, noting that he hopes the employees will be recalled in the next 3 to 5 weeks. "But right now, economically, we are still dead in the water."

Plumbo said previously that foreign market competition in China has been responsible for the company's misfortune after a peak of expansion was reached in the late-'90s. The scientific and specialty glass manufacturer has downsized its work force from a peak of 240 employees since that peak was reached.

The company currently employees 42, including the 11 who now await a recall.

"We hope it goes quickly and we do all hope to get back to work," Sanderlin said. "That is what we were all there for."

600450 Glass strike ends
Date: 24 May 2003

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