7/19/07

Steelworkers strike, shut NY box manufacturer

The Climax Manufacturing Co. shut down its Lowville plant indefinitely after 150 union workers went on strike Wednesday. "We have no future (contract negotiation) dates planned at this point," said Michael Bellmore, the United Steel Workers International Union, Local 1888 boss. The plant's labor contract expired June 30, but both sides agreed to an extension to allow time for a new agreement to be reached, Bellmore said.

But on Wednesday workers voted down a final offer from the paperboard and packaging company. Company officials have since "indicated to me they weren't interested in extending the contract" and pulled their offer, Bellmore said. The main conflict for union members was wages.

Company officials were unable to be reached late Wednesday. The 103-year-old company, now in its fifth generation of family ownership, has had its headquarters in Lowville since 1988. The company has about 275 employees, most of whom work in Lowville. A West Carthage plant employs about 70 people, many of whom are also represented by USU.

(newsday.com)

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