A mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has been called in to assist with negotiations between the Teamsters union and specialty plastics manufacturer MonoSol, as the two parties agree to resume bargaining this week. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report 190 workers have been locked out of the La Porte plant since last Wednesday, and members of Teamsters Local 135 have been picketing since then.
“We want to get this damn thing done so these guys can get back to work,” said Local 135 President-elect Dustin Roach. “If they don’t want to do it, we’ll be right here.”
MonoSol produces biodegradable films used in products such as dissolvable laundry detergent and dishwasher soap pods.
The publication says the Teamsters union wants to end forced overtime and the 60-hour workweeks that the union says are common at the plant.
The Teamsters are also seeking bigger raises. The Times says workers voted 160-9 to reject a previous deal that included 6.5%, 4%, 3% and 3% raises over the next four years.
MonoSol says in addition to the wage increases, it’s also offering $5,000 signing bonuses, no mandatory overtime during the first year, and improved health benefits.
“We are optimistic that the involvement of a federal mediator be helpful in cutting through emotional and inaccurate rhetoric that is typical of such situations and help everyone refocus on the few remaining issues,” said MonoSol Vice President of Corporate Affairs Matthew Vander Laan.
It also has two facilities in Portage and one in Lebanon.
Click here to access the full story from Joseph Pete at The Times of Northwest Indiana.