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St. Lawrence workers, company reach agreement

June 30, 1999

Union workers at St. Lawrence Cement Co., who have been working without a contract since May 31, voted Wednesday to accept a company proposal.

Members of the Paper Allied-Industrial Chemical & Energy Local 2033 voted 55 to 23 to accept the contract, said Stephen Heagy, Local 2033 president.

"We didn't expect it to be unanimous. It wasn't going to satisfy everyone and it didn't, but the majority has spoken," he said.

"We're pleased the contract was ratified. We're looking forward to another good year," said Cynthia Oates, St. Lawrence Cement spokeswoman.

Negotiations began in February. Union employees unanimously rejected a management proposal on June 22. Workers voted at that time to approve a strike, but did not walk off the job.

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The contract will be retroactive to June 1 and will expire in June 2003.

The contract includes a four-year plan for wage increases of 3 percent each year. The average worker makes $16.90 an hour, said Heagy, a welder.

It also provides a more comprehensive benefit package, he said.

"I'm satisfied overall. We haven't made leaps and bounds but it's a fair agreement," Heagy said.

Relations between workers and management have suffered during negotiations, he said.

"It's going to take some time to heal," Heagy said.

- Kimberly Yakowski

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