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Grove rejects union again

July 28, 2000

Grove rejects union again



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Proponents of the latest effort to bring union representation to Grove Worldwide were "very, very disappointed" Friday following Thursday's defeat by a vote of nearly 2-1, said a local union organizer.

Darrell Vance, a welder at Grove's main plant in Shady Grove, said workers who supported the union and some of their families were upset by the election results.

"There were a lot of tears today, but it was a legitimate election. Everything was done to a T," Vance said.

The final tally was 1,011 votes against the union and 632 for it. The election was sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Board.

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About 1,700 workers in Grove's main plant and plants in Quincy, Pa., and Chambersburg, Pa., cast ballots.

Attempts to organize Grove workers date to 1973. The workers must wait a year before they can try again, Vance said.

Keith Simmons, Grove vice president, said Friday the company was pleased with the election results, which will pave the way for better communications between management and workers.

Gary Ward, regional representative for the union, did not return calls Friday.

The Steelworkers last tried to organize Grove in September 1999. They dropped the effort when they failed to get the required signatures to call an election.

The union passed signature cards around again in June when nearly 1,000 workers signed up. Organizers said at the time that more workers were leaning toward union representation because of cuts in their health, retirement and other benefits.

Vance said the company launched a heavy anti-union effort that included hiring consultants to advise management how to fight an organizing effort. The consultants also met with employees, he said.

"They used scare tactics by talking a lot about strikes," he said.

Jeffrey Bust, Grove chairman and chief executive officer, said in prepared remarks that the vote "gives us the chance to address our issues directly with our employees. There is no place for division and conflict within an organization that faces the challenges that we do."

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