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Casting Technologies strike enters third week

May 15, 2001

Casting Technologies strike enters third week



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


Police were called Monday morning to escort owners and supervisors into Casting Technologies Inc. after striking picketers blocked the entrance to the plant as the strike entered its third week.

There were no other incidents Monday at the Clayton Avenue foundry. Later in the day, representatives of the union and management met with local police officials inside the plant to plan strategy should things get out of hand on the picket line, said Waynesboro Police Chief Ray Shultz.

At midnight on May 1, 24 members of Teamsters Local 992 walked out off their jobs protesting wages, benefits and working conditions.

Casting Technologies was founded in 1987 by Al Cogan and his son, Mark. The foundry makes castings for industry.

The company has 32 employees, including three supervisors, a secretary and 28 union production workers.

The two owners, three supervisors and secretary are the only ones working during the strike. Production has been shut down by the strike, union members said.

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Only 24 of the 28 union workers are out on strike, union members said. The other four include two on sick leave, one on layoff and a new employee who is too new to the union to have his dues current, Darryl Bowman, the shop steward, has said.

The vote to strike was 18-6.

George Woods is secretary, treasurer and principal officer of Local 992, and is the union's bargaining agent. He said after the meeting with the owners and the police Monday that the union is willing to return to the bargaining table.

Talks between management and the union stopped with the walkout.

"We're waiting on the company," Woods said. "We're ready to go back to the table at any time."

He said the owners have offered to resume talks on a new contract if the strikers agree to go back to work under the old contract while a new pact is worked out. "That is not acceptable to us," Woods said.

The owners have refused to comment throughout the strike.

Wages, safer working conditions and better health insurance were issues in the contract talks, union members said.

The average hourly wage for production workers at Casting Technologies is about $11. The hourly range is from $9 to $12.50, union members said.

Shultz said he and Franklin County Sheriff Robert Wallyung met with union and company representatives in an effort to keep a lid on the strike.

"We don't want things to get out of hand. Things can happen the longer the strike goes on," Shultz said.

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