October 14, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Concordia, MO – Workers at Milbank Manufacturing’s Concordia, Mo. plant have been locked out since Sept. 27 as the company presses to reduce their time off.
The 104 workers, who build electricity meters and related products, had been working under a contract that expired in July.
Ralph Oropeza, a business representative for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 124, said the members, who earn between $14 and $16 an hour, want raises of $1.50 or $2 to reach parity with the contract recently ratified by workers in Milbank’s Kansas City plant, who are represented by a different union. A Milbank negotiator said the company is offering a 3% raise over three years, with health-insurance costs going up in the second and third years. The company also wants to eliminate workers’ right to take “emergency vacation” days off that they don’t have to schedule in advance, said Pete Raya, another Local 124 business representative. Oropeza said members “absolutely, flat-out reject” that, because many use their emergency days to get medical care in Kansas City, an hour west of Concordia. Read more