Striking label workers backed at rally Union faults new Canadian owner for impasse in talks.

June 06, 1991|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Evening Sun Staff

Union workers at the Lawson Mardon label plant, entering their fourth week of a strike, staged a rally yesterday to reaffirm their determination not to return to work until their grievances are addressed.

Joining members of the Graphic Communications International Union Local 582 in the rally were national officers of the union and representatives from local unions of other trades.

The plant at 6901 Rolling Mill Road makes food labels and prints labels on boxes.

The Lawson Mardon Group agreed to take over the business from H.S. Crocker Co. Inc. last July and the deal was completed in September. The company also purchased a warehouse in the Frankford industrial complex on Frankford Avenue near Moravia.

No talks between the union and the management have been held since May 14, when both sides met briefly with a federal mediator. Although some progress was reported during the session, no new talks have been scheduled.

Union members have been picketing at the plant and the warehouse.

Union officials blame the standoff on the company's new owner, which is based in Ontario, Canada.

While recognizing the union, the new owner did not recognize the existing labor contract. Since October, management and workers have been negotiating a new contract without success, according to Bill Beresh, a union spokesman.

The two sides have been unable to agree on issues concerning seniority, overtime pay and union jurisdictions.

Hourly pay is not an issue because the company agreed to recognize the previous wage scales, a union official said.

The union has 98 members. About 18 or 19 union members have returned to work, according to union and management officials.

Albert Zimmerman, vice president and general manager of the plant, said the plant is continuing to operate with its approximately 30 salaried workers and the union members who have crossed the picket lines.

He said he does not know why no talks have been held since the session with the mediator.

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