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Good Humor-Breyer's workers nix proposal

August 07, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Union workers at Good Humor-Breyer's Ice Cream Inc. on Friday turned down the latest company offer for a new contract by a 296-88 vote, the president of the local union said.

It was unknown at press time if the workers would go on strike with the start of the regular midnight shift.

"The plant was closed for part of the day Friday for the vote, but it's supposed to open again for the midnight shift," said Larry Lorshbaugh, president of Local 9386 of the United Steelworkers of America. He said he didn't know if the midnight shift would show up for work or walk out.

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The plant operates on three shifts.

"If there's no contract in the next several days, there will be a strike," he said.

The union is the bargaining agent for 450 workers at the plant at 1100 Frederick St., Lorshbaugh said.

"That vote was a pretty major victory," he said of the union members' move toward solidarity. The members voted at the United Auto Workers headquarters in Maugansville, Lorshbaugh said.

Ken Wells, local plant manager, could not be reached at press time Friday.

Lorshbaugh said among issues keeping the sides apart are the cost of health insurance, job security, grievance procedures and days off.

He said the company wants the workers to pay 10 percent on the cost of their health insurance premiums.

"We have good health insurance, but there would be no control over our costs," Lorshbaugh said.

The union wants a cap on how much workers would have to pay as health insurance premiums go up. The company is against a cap, he said.

The workers also worry about shifting local jobs to other Breyer's plants, including one in Canada, Lorshbaugh said.

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