With negotiations stalled, 85 Guardian Fiberglass plant workers vow to maintain a picket line around the clock outside the Erin manufacturer.Employees have been on strike since Monday and union representatives say they will hold out "one day longer" than company officials in order to get their members a better contract."This company is making money.They've told us they're making money -- they're just not making enough money," says Mary Simm of the United Steel Workers Union's Cambridge office, who joined employees at the entrance to Guardian's laneway. "They're a huge global conglomerate and they are looking for a huge concession."
A division of Guardian Industries, which manufactures and distributes glass and automotive products world-wide, the Main Street facility produces fiberglass insulation. According to the company website, it's one of six "strategically located" fibreglass facilities across North America and is the only Canadian plant.
Manufacturing employees, Simm says, have been without a contract since Feb. 18. Contract negotiations have occurred since then, but the two sides haven't been able to come to an agreement. As a result, workers voted almost unanimously in favour of a strike, she says.
"They are looking for a three-year wage freeze. They are looking to eliminate ... shift premiums," the union rep claims, suggesting concessions are also sought regarding long-term disability coverage. "It's a bad situation".
"We've been at this for months," she adds, noting a provincial conciliator has been involved in the process. "The union would be prepared to sit down and bargain for a reasonable settlement."
Plant manager Dan Pyke acknowledges the strike and says he would like to see it end soon, but declined to comment directly on contract negotiations.
"Right now we're working to resolve the issues between the company and the union as quickly as possible," he tells The Banner. "That's all I have to say."