Routh may strike Saturday

MARGARETTA TWP. J.H. Routh Packing officials have received 72 hours notice from the union, but are m
Janet
May 24, 2010

 

MARGARETTA TWP.

J.H. Routh Packing officials have received 72 hours notice from the union, but are making an 11th hour attempt to negotiate.

"There has been some change in the company's final proposal," said Jill Cashen, a spokeswoman for the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.

Workers will get more information today before voting Friday whether to accept the offer or reject it, she said Wednesday. Rejecting the proposal would mean a strike on Saturday, she added.

Routh Packing employees have said they do not want to strike. Instead, they would like to continue working under the old contract without losing any money. What company officials proposed was cutting the current insurance coverage in half and having employees pay a portion of the costs.

"That is the biggest thing that is keeping us from a 'yes' vote," wrote one worker in an e-mail Wednesday. "If they gave us our old insurance and asked us to pay for it, we would have settled this a long time ago."

The employee said the company renegotiated the attendance bonus and wage freeze, stating that workers can receive a raise in three years depending on how well the company is doing.

UFCW Local 911 president Jefferson Stephens could not be reached Wednesday.

Union representative Robert Gilbert said union officials will not comment to the Register anymore  because of "inaccuracies." He declined to specify what the inaccuracies were and continued by saying the stories were poorly reported.

David Stearns, Routh Packing's executive vice president and chief executive officer also declined to comment.

About 200 people work at the meat packing plant at 4413 W. Bogart Road. The company produces pork products under the Daisyfield brand.