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USW and UAW Locals Look to Save Automotive Supply Jobs in Midwest

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:17 PM
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USW and UAW Locals Look to Save Automotive Supply Jobs in Midwest

VAN WERT, Ohio, Dec 05, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Foreign Owner Locks Out Workers; Another Shutdown Looming?

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-524 members Aaron Collins and Natasha Ringwald will travel from Van Wert, Ohio, Saturday, December 6th to meet with members of the United Autoworkers (UAW) Local 1268 in Belvidere, Ill. to examine the uncertain future that lies ahead at their respective plants as the domestic automotive industry confronts corporate restructuring and downsizing. The USW members work at the Kongsberg Automotive facility in Van Wert and produce console shifters used in the assembly of the Dodge Caliber at the Chrysler assembly plant in Belvidere.

Norway-based Kongsberg Automotive bought the former Teleflex facility in Van Wert Ohio last year, and five months later locked out all 327 workers after demanding a pension plan freeze and 40% wage cuts. The workers believe that Kongsberg is deliberately shutting down many facilities in North America, leaving workers that once supplied the Big Three out in the cold.

"We want to continue to be the Belvidere supplier," says Aaron Collins, USW Local 1-524 president. "But we can't do that if we're locked out. We wonder if there will be any jobs left in Van Wert considering Kongsberg's cut-and-run reputation." With 10.5% of its residents out of work, Van Wert County has the third highest unemployment rate in all of Ohio. Locked-out Steelworkers wonder how they'll get through the holidays as unemployment benefits run out and jobs are scarce.

"Times are tough for everyone in the country, but it doesn't have to be that way in Van Wert," says Natasha Ringwald, a single mother employed at the Kongsberg facility. "We want to be in our plant working, producing parts for Chrysler, Ford and GM. Instead we're locked out. I'm not sure Santa is going to able to bring my son much this year."
"We are proud of these members for their courage in standing up to this ruthless employer and its unfair demands, and will do all we can to see that their fight is successful," said USW District 1 Director Dave McCall. "We cannot allow employers such as Kongsberg to use a sour economy as an excuse to take advantage of USW members."

FULL story at link.

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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:13 PM
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1. union busters....
i hope that the new trade policies addresses these issues. allowing foreign investment with out rules has been our down fall. hell america`s big steel producers are owned by foreign companies.

my daughter`s line produced over 1 million and counting 0 defect parts for Chrysler. the plant is non-union and use 25% temp employees. what kongsberg does`t understand nor cares is that auto manufactures do not want parts made by inexperienced workers and they can`t afford to wait for them to be trained. if the plants loses it`s iso ratings then there`s a good chance the auto manufactures will look elsewhere for their parts. the line she works on now has to have workers who meet certain standards and understand iso ratings. they were peer reviewed several weeks ago and passed. if they had`t toyota and others would have very "disappointed".

those guys and gals up there in belvedere do`t want crap parts to ruin their most efficient car plant in the usa....
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