IAM Files Labor Board Charges at Merrill Manufacturing

Local 2362 members have been on strike since March against Merrill Manufacturing Corporation in Merrill, WI. Striking Local 2362 members include, from left, Jim Wiederhoeft, Scott Kufahl, Vice President Jim Losey and Ary Duranceau.

The IAM filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Merrill Manufacturing Corporation of Merrill, WI, for their failure to negotiate in good faith which forced more than 30 members of IAM Local 2362 to go on strike March 24, 2010.

Merrill’s owners demanded drastic pay cuts, changes to medical insurance and other concessions to get them through the economic downturn. During negotiations, the IAM agreed to reductions in pay and other changes to help the company but asked for the right to reopen negotiations after one year if the company recovered sooner than expected. At the final stages of negotiations, the company demanded additional changes and imposed the company’s last offer on employees, forcing employees to strike.

“Our members were willing to make sacrifices to help Merrill survive,” said IAM District W3 Business Representative Brian Jarvensivu. “They simply asked that in return, they have the chance to share in the company’s success if those sacrifices made the company healthy again. The company changed the terms at the last minute, asking for more than they needed. Now it seems they are out to punish the employees and destroy the union.”

The IAM charges that while the IAM and Merrill were in the final stages of negotiations in March 2010, Merrill demanded additional changes, didn’t respond to a subsequent IAM proposal and then imposed the company’s final offer on employees, which precipitated the strike.

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