Labor dispute forces shutdown at Rotorex

Maryland Watch

August 19, 1997

The Rotorex Co. was shut down yesterday by a labor dispute over subcontracts that the company characterized as a strike and the union called a lockout of the Walkersville plant's 440 union workers.

Kent Hansen, a spokesman for Rotorex's corporate parent, Fedders Corp., said management did not stop union members from returning to work under terms of a three-year contract that expired at 12: 01 a.m. yesterday.

But Jesse Williams, president of Local 133 of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers, said Sunday that management locked out the union after rejecting a union proposal for a 30-day contract extension.

The main issue is a management plan to subcontract some work done by union members, Williams said.

He said Rotorex had already hired out some work, prompting the union to seek an arbitrator's aid.

Hansen would not discuss contract proposals.

Rotorex makes compressors for Fedders, the largest manufacturer of room air conditioners in North America, with sales of $371.7 million in its fiscal year that ended last Aug. 31.

Pub Date: 8/19/97

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