Regal Beloit Workers End Strike to Save Jobs

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Plant workers had been on strike since June 30. (photo courtesy of Joseph S. Pete/The Times of Northwest Indiana) Plant workers had been on strike since June 30. (photo courtesy of Joseph S. Pete/The Times of Northwest Indiana)

Employees at the Regal Beloit Corp. (NYSE: RBC) plant in Valparaiso, who have been on strike for the past two months, have agreed to return to work. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the decision was made in an effort to help union officials continue collective bargaining talks with the company, which this week announced it  is closing the plant, a move that would affect more than 170 jobs.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 2019 and Regal Beloit have reached an agreement for 110 striking hourly workers to go back to work Tuesday, according to the publication. The workers went on strike in an effort for better pay and more affordable healthcare.

The union is also appealing to President Donald Trump, asking him to urge Regal Beloit to reconsider closing the plant.

"For generations, Machinists Union members have proudly worked at this facility producing parts for many vital U.S. aerospace defense programs including Apache helicopters and Air Force One," IAM International President Bob Martinez said in a letter to the president. "In return for our members’ loyalty, Regal Beloit has now decided to turn its back on these U.S. workers. These highly skilled workers have decades of experience and hold important program-specific certifications. Dismantling this workforce and similar workforces, with the intellectual and industrial capacity they represent, would be a travesty and would ultimately threaten our national security and capability to continue as a world leader."

Read the full letter by clicking here.

Martinez cites the Economic Policy Institute, which estimates that for every manufacturing job lost in the United States, approximately 7.4 indirect or induced jobs are lost. "This means, if Regal Beloit shuts its doors on these 171 workers, an estimated 1,260 jobs will be lost in the Valparaiso region and across the supply chain."

The publication reports now that the agreement to end the strike has been reached, the union and the company remain in negotiations.

"The collective bargaining process is still ongoing," Regal Beloit Vice President of Business Development and Investor Relations Robert Cherry said in a statement to The Times.

Regal Beloit has not given a timeline for the plant's closure.

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