Libbey Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations are running up against a deadline for a major employer in Toledo. Four unions represent the approximately 1,500 employees at the Libbey Glass plant in north Toledo.

The company and the unions are trying to work out an agreement. They need to beat a 12:01 am October 1st deadline. We're told a major sticking point is health care cutbacks.

"It's rough. You've got to plan for it," said Dale Swartz. He told News 11 he knows what it's like to face a strike. He's worked for the Libbey Glass plant for 31 years. He's seen two strikes, one in 1998 another in '74 and handled negotiations in the past.

"One, two o'clock in the morning you're trying to get a contract to bring back to the people," said Swartz. We caught up with Swartz picking up a check at the plant. He's now hoping to pick up better health care in the new contract. "Our health benefits are the big thing. You can't never get back what you give up," he told us.

Darren Lee has been there for the past 17 years. He said he hates the idea of having to pull out more money from his wallet for health insurance, but it's looks like that's the sign of the times. Times that workers don't want to walk out, but if pushed they'll do what they have to. "It's hard," said Lee. "Nobody wants to be out without a paycheck..worried. Long term is more important, though. We seem to be one of the last glass factories anymore so we must be doing right," he added.

As Swartz looks to retire in four years, long term plans are hot on his mind. "One day these people younger than me will be retiring and they're going to need those benefits and they give them up now they'll never get them back," Swartz told News 11.

He went on to say in the past workers have usually seen a 10% raise over a three-year deal. Our phone calls to the company have not been returned. Earlier this month we reported a major expansion at that plant. Up to 50 new jobs will be coming to the plant with two new production lines being added to the facility and production expected to begin early to mid next year. Obviously, this contract needs to be worked out before any of that happens.

600450 Libbey Contract Negotiations
Date: 4 October 2004

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