It's now been three weeks since 56 union employees at the Bull Moose Tube in Trenton, Georgia have been locked out.
Over the past 3 days negotiations between the steel plant and union workers have made little headway and according to members, getting back to work may take a little longer.
"We got here because that's where the company took it to,” says Daniel Flippo who is a representative of the United Steel Workers Union.
Flippo says that the union didn't start this lockout.
Bull Moose Tube says that it still needed to service its customers. So, to avoid a potential strike by employees, union members were locked out and temporary workers were hired.
"Our members cannot be replaced and we know that,” expressed Flippo.
Both the union and the company say meetings at the table are trending positive, but for the workers, some of 30-plus years, say it has been hard on them.
“It’s been tough to see these guys be locked out after trying and helping to grow this company after so many years,” says Joey Casey.
Casey is the local chapter president of United Steel Workers.
“They put so many years of service, putting in dedication and hard work,” says Casey.
Joey Casey says that his co-workers want to get back to work so they can continue to provide for their families. Through unemployment from the state of Georgia, the union and the support of the community, the workers have been able to stay financially stable and make ends meet.
One thing that both parties say is holding up an agreement is healthcare.
“Today, the members have good health care," says Flippo. “But, the company is trying to radically change it by reducing the benefits and raising the cost of what our members are actually paying for the insurance.”
Bull Moose Tube says they have a competitive offer with increased pay and a more than fair insurance plan.
According to Bull Moose Tube’s president and CEO Jim Charmly, the company is requesting employees go from $21 a week in health care payments to $24 a week with an increased deductible in the new agreement.
“While I understand that adding a $100 to the cost of healthcare certainly is a burden, the way the company is attempting to get over that is by paying about $1000 more a year to make up for it,” says Charmley.
For now formal meetings are being held until the October 1, according to Flippo. But both parties look forward to putting members back to work.
Channel 3 will continue to follow this story as negotiations continue.
Friday, September 14 2018 8:12 AM EDT2018-09-14 12:12:33 GMT
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