Stunning development in Fond du Lac

Union given a last chance to re-vote on contract proposal.

Here’s the statement from Mercury:

Officials from Mercury Marine and the Midwest Territory of the IAMAW, the union that represents the company’s manufacturing
employees, agreed Tuesday to allow workers to vote again on a proposed labor contract originally offered by the company on Aug. 19.

State and local officials over the past several days have encouraged the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and Mercury Marine to meet and discuss a process for a revote on the company’s “best and final” contract

Mercury’s deadline for acceptance by the union of the company’s “best and final” proposal was originally set for midnight Saturday, Aug. 29, at which time the company would have removed the contract from consideration. However, due to questions
surrounding the voting process, Mercury informed the union that its membership can continue to consider the original proposal through the voting on Sept. 4th.

“Hundreds of employees expressed a desire to voice their true feelings, and that’s something we can’t ignore,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine. “Obviously this is a difficult situation for all employees in Fond du Lac and Stillwater.”

If results from the Aug. 23 vote would have stood, work from Fond du Lac would have moved to the company’s plant in Stillwater. However, the vote scheduled for this week will take precedence.

Tuesday’s agreement will allow union members to vote Thursday and Friday on exactly the same contract proposal previously considered and rejected by voters on Aug. 23. Union members can vote from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. either day at the IAMAW hall in Fond du Lac.  (Source: Mercury Marine)

The union meanwhile claims there are changes.

Union leaders say the current proposal contains a supplement that clarifies some of the terms.

“I don’t think that we understood some of the things (in the original proposal) because they were not clarified and brought into the light of day. But the current proposal will allow our members to cast an intelligent vote,” said Rich Michalski, general vice president of the union’s national leadership in Washington, D.C.

“Here is the lay of the land, and this is what we are looking at. . . . These aren’t the best of times, but we clarified what we could,” Michalski said. (Source: Third contract vote planned at Mercury Marine – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal)

Whether it’s the exact same contract or a contract with a sipplement is a moot point. The question remains – Why reverse course after saying the deadline for acceptance had passed?   As officials in Stillwater, OK point out it’s a question only Schwabero and Mercury management can answer.

“I think we are all a little bit frustrated … Why they decided to go back after proclaiming their intent to move is only a question that can be answered by Schwabero,” said Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, who has been among those working to attract Mercury Marine to Oklahoma. “It’s like Fond du Lac gets two chances and Stillwater gets none.”

As also pointed out is the need for some honest dialogue.

Unwilling to relent, Stillwater Chamber of Commerce President Larry Brown said, “This is not over … We are not giving up … We are extremely disappointed. Their decision was a surprise … We are licking wounds and trying to patch over bruises but we are not dead yet. We need to visit with Mercury management to make sense out of this decision and try to move forward.”

Important, said Brown, is honest dialogue with the company about their decision and what predicated it.  (Source: Stillwater reacts to Mercury flip-flop – Stillwater NewsPress)

In the end union members have been given another chance to save their jobs. And an undeserved chance at that.  Why undeserved?  Because there was a deadline in place to accept the contract by Aug 29 at 11:59 pm. Because there are employees at another location who don’t have a say, who felt after that deadline passed without the union accepting it that this was all over and done with.  Employees who are now being put through the wringer because union members in Fond du Lac blindly followed leadership on August 23 and then some had buyers remorse, whining about it until they were given what is now a 3rd chance.

Plain and simple the union had there chance and blew it, the fact their leadership didn’t allow a 2nd vote until two hours before the deadline should be tough luck.  But apparently that isn’t going to be the case, so will the union be stupid enough to vote “no” again?

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  1. Pingback: Another vote, union fallout & feeling used « Try 2 Focus

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