Florida Woodworkers Demand Safe Workplace, Fair Wages

May 27, 2008 – By a unanimous vote, 40 members of Local W356, in Adel, GA, who build wooden crates at the Elberta Crate and Box Company facility in Avon Park, FL, rejected a contract offer from the company with annual wage rates that did not even meet the 2007 federal poverty level for a family of three.

“There are workers in Bainbridge, GA, who do the same work, for the same company, who earn about $1.30 per hour more,” said Leon Blocker, President of District W-2. “They have safer work conditions and hot water in their bathrooms. There’s no excuse for treating these Florida workers worse than the workers in Georgia.” 

Besides livable wages, safety on the job is a key issue for the workers in Florida. Last year the company lost more than 298 worker days in productivity because of accidents on the job. “If the employer would stop violating the law and start to work with us, we could lower their accident rates, reduce some of their costs and improve productivity,” said Blocker. 

In addition to the substandard contract offer, the National Relations Labor Board will hold a hearing on Aug. 4 to consider numerous charges levied by the IAM of discriminatory and hostile activities in the workplace.