Jobs are on the line at the Glass Group

About 530 jobs are on the line at the Glass Group Inc.'s plant, formerly known as the Flat River Glass Company.

A source close to the situation has told the Daily Journal the company has asked workers to accept a 5 to 10 percent pay cut.While company officials would not confirm the size of the pay cut, they did confirm the workers have been asked to accept a reduction in pay, as well as other benefits.The size of the workforce has also been reduced by 25 to 30 positions, including both salaried and hourly employees.Jim Hahn, acting as a spokesman for the plant, said the owners were on site Tuesday and that they had talked to the union.Hahn said he believes the union plans to take a vote on whether to accept the pay cuts and reductions in benefits on Wednesday or Thursday.He stressed the situation has nothing to do with the quality of work from the employees.They are professional and do a good job, but the company is in an economic bind.

Hahn said company officials have also been in touch with Rep. Kevin Engler to find out if there is anything that can be done to help the company survive.

Engler confirmed he is researching the avenues available, but pointed out most of Missouri's programs deal with attracting new businesses or expanding existing ones. Retention is an area the state needs to look at more closely, the legislator suggested.

Hahn said one of the things putting a crimp in the business right now is that basic utilities are not very well regulated. Increasing fuel costs are a real problem.

One solution Hahn suggested was a decrease in the sales tax on utilities, something he said New Jersey has already done. New Jersey is where the GGI's headquarters are located.

"We are in tough times," Hahn said. "This is the toughest I've seen in the 25 years I've been here."

In newspaper articles published about the New Jersey plant's situation, it was reported the company is deeply in debt and would close if the union there did not approve the reductions. Hahn would neither confirm or deny that.

If the union here refuses, it's "not good," Hahn said. "But I don't know what will happen at that point. I can't speak for the owners."

Hahn said management would do and is doing everything possible to keep the plant afloat.

"Flat River Glass has played a vital part in the community," Hahn said. "It is a unique business, we want to keep it going, and we will do all we can."

600450 Jobs are on the line at the Glass Group
Date: 12 November 2004

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