Still no talks scheduled at Lenawee Stamping Corporation

By DEB WUETHRICH

Things seem to be at a standstill between UAW Local 3000 members and management at the Lenawee Stamping Corporation (LSC) plant in Tecumseh.

Polly Prielipp, a 20-year employee of the company and acting unit chair attended Monday night’s Tecumseh City Council meeting to thank the city and council for hearing the workers over the past couple of weeks and said they would welcome any assistance the city might provide in getting things moving.

“I am here two weeks later to say that we have not met with Van-Rob to negotiate with our April 1 deadline,” said Prielipp. She said the union takes the matter very seriously. “No new negotiation dates have been set at this time as we continue to work toward ratification,” she said. “We want to keep you informed, knowing our future plans are to keep the work in this community.” Prielipp said the members would welcome help to get whomever involved that needed to be involved to get the ball rolling.

“Whether that would be the governor or whomever, it’s not just about bringing in new jobs such as Consolidated Biscuit Company,” said Prielipp, “It’s about keeping jobs here. Be assured the union is ready to continue to address these issues.”  
In response to a Herald inquiry, LSC general manager Rob Vandertogt said that when negotiations broke off at the end of January, ending the possibility of bringing new business to LSC, it was agreed upon to take a couple of weeks to regroup and prepare for the April 1 deadline.

“In the meantime, the union did request numerous times if our position changed and if we were willing to get back to the table,” Vandertogt responded via E-mail. “Our answer has been no, as the deadline was passed.”

Vandertogt said unfortunately with the economy worsening and production volumes continuing to decline, the company had to put more than 50 percent of the hourly workers on indefinite layoff and also reduced salary staff permanently by 30 percent as of last week. He said there continues to be workers who are upset that they have not been given an opportunity to vote on what the company put on the table.

“Our customers have clearly communicated to us that our competitive position has to improve to be considered for the next generation of business, so if we don’t come to an agreement now that addresses the issues that are on the table, the plant is not viable long term,” Vandertogt said. “We will continue to bargain in good faith towards the April 1 deadline to come to an agreement with the union, based on the clear objectives that are necessary to make the plant more competitive.”

City Manager Kevin Welch said the lack of progress between the union and the company is a huge concern for the City. The company was on the agenda at the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) when it was thought new jobs would be created in Tecumseh. “We’re still pretty optimistic that a resolution can be found and we’ll do everything we can on our end to assist with that and continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

Tecumseh Herald

 

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P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286
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