Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. ...

Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. in Aurora

There are 4998 comments on the Recordpub.com story from Jan 18, 2013, titled Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. in Aurora. In it, Recordpub.com reports that:

About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, January 18, according to a company spokesperson.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Recordpub.com.

truth

Louisville, KY

#1203 Mar 10, 2013
United Steelworkers Staff Representative Dennis Brubaker has a golden rule when running a picket line.“I never allow beer,” Brubaker tells Working In These Times.“What always happens is that someone gets drunk and throws a rock at the boss’s office. Then they get fired [from] their job after the strike is [over].”

(As a labor reporter, I can personally attest that bored workers on picket lines frequently bring beer and flasks of liquor.)

Right now, Brubaker has good reason to run a strict picket line. He’s coordinating a tense work stoppage at a ball-bearing manufacturing facility in Aurora, Ohio that began after the company, Rotek, unilaterally implemented a concessionary contract.

Upping the ante, Rotek has brought in labor relations consultant AFIMAC to help it handle the stoppage. Working In These Times last wrote about AFIMAC in September, after the company hosted a conference, headlined by actor Henry Winkler (a.k.a.“The Fonz”), instructing companies on how to lock out workers and deal with strikes.

While the factory is essentially out of operation for the time being, AFIMAC has hired, in the union’s estimation, a “vanload” of scabs who are helping with maintenance and inventory issues.

The union has also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that AFIMAC has engaged in illegal surveillance of picketing workers. Brubaker alleges that AFIMAC security guards have routinely filmed picketers on streets and have on some occasions tried to provoke workers to hit them. Brubaker speculates that AFIMAC hopes to provoke violence in order to seek an injunction limiting the size—and thus the effectiveness—of the union’s picket line.

AFIMAC did not respond for comment.
PT 1 Feb. 27 2013
truth

Louisville, KY

#1204 Mar 10, 2013
Uncertain winds PT 2 Feb. 27 2013

Rotek, which makes ball bearings for windmills, has been locked in contentious bargaining with its workers’ union, United Steelworkers Local 8565. Rotek claims that its business has tanked as a result of a decline in sales in the wind and military market.(The company may be referring to uncertainty over the extension of a federal tax credit for wind production, which was temporarily extended as part of the fiscal cliff deal, but for only one year. Speculation as to whether or not the credit will be renewed again may dampen investment in wind production projects.)

Last fall, Rotek, reports the union, announced that it was being forced to lay off 68 union members—out of total of 187 at the plant—as a result of the downturn in business. Now, Rotek is telling the workers that in order for the business to stay afloat, they must agree to a slew of concessions to which the union strongly objects.

Among those concessions is a new pay scale. Under the current wages, the maximum a worker can earn is $25 an hour, according to the union; under the proposed changes, the maximum would be reduced to $23.50 an hour for existing workers and $21.80 for new hires. The lowest-skilled workers would start at $16 an hour and max at $17.50 an hour.

Dennis Brubaker says that for a worker at the plant making the average wage of $40,000 a year, the pay cuts would result in an $8,000 reduction in wages, on average. In addition to the pay cuts, the company is demanding workers accept a new health care plan that would force workers to pay more out-of-pocket expenses.

The National Labor Relations Act stipulates that companies must open their books if they say they can’t afford to pay the contract. However, despite Rotek’s claim that steep concessions are required to keep the company afloat, the company has refused to open up its books to show that it is indeed losing money at the plant. Brubaker claims that the company has used sophisticated language in contract negotiations to sidestep the law, such as saying that the company doesn't need the concessions to make the plant profitable but that it “need[s] to restructure this plant [to] make it more efficient.”
truth

Louisville, KY

#1205 Mar 10, 2013
A side deal? PT 3 Feb. 27 2013

The union has also filed unfair labor practice charges with the National labor Relations Board against the company for allegedly engaging in illegal side-bargaining, claiming that a letter Rotek sent to employees falsely represents what financial information has been provided to the union. The letter, dated February 20, 2013 and signed by Rotek President Tim Gudszend and CFO Mark Girman, states:


It appears the Union Committee does not grasp the urgency of the situation.... Recently, there has been a sharp decline in demand throughout our key markets. Like many of our competitors, we have seen corresponding declines in sales, particularly the wind and military markets. In an attempt to illustrate the seriousness of our position, we have shared financial information with your Union Committee showing each of our Aurora facilities has lost several million dollars every year for the last three years; with projections for similar or even greater losses in the next few years.

However, the union disputes this, saying that Rotek has merely informed them of said losses, but has refused to open the books and share the actual data.

“We don't know what they are making,” says Brubaker.“They tell you all the negatives, but you know, with all these write-offs, they could be making profits on it. Without opening the books, they make it very difficult to [bargain].”

After the contract expired on January 5th, the union offered to continue working for a year under its previous contract. However, Rotek rejected the offer, and on January 11th, reports the union, Rotek unilaterally imposed the wage and healthcare cuts on its union workforce. At that point, the workers—feeling that if they continued to work after the cuts had been implemented, the company would have no incentive to negotiate—decided to stop working. The union, however, is insisting that they are not on strike, but rather were “forced out” after Rotek implemented the contract.

“The law in Ohio is basically that the party who disturbs the status quo ante is the party at fault for the unemployment,” explains National Employment Law Project attorney Rick McHugh.“So long as the union offers to continue working under the existing terms even if the collective bargaining agreement expires, then the employer’s rejection of this offer is considered the predominant cause of the claimants’ unemployment.”

This is the argument that the union presented in hearings before an unemployment judge in Ohio earlier this month. A ruling has yet to be handed down in this case, but one is expected by March 1.

Brubaker concedes that unless the strike is ruled an unfair labor practice strike, the workers could be permanently replaced. However, he says there is a silver lining to Rotek’s using a work-stoppage specialist shop like AFIMAC: For now, Rotek is paying AFIMAC for temporary workers instead of hiring permanent replacements.

Meanwhile, Brubaker’s picket line remains a tight ship, and no rocks (or punches) have been thrown.
truth

Louisville, KY

#1206 Mar 10, 2013
Rotek says miscommunication led to employees being sent home; employee claims it was a 'lockout'

By Tim Troglen | Hudson hub times Published: January 16, 2013 4:00AM

Eleven employees who showed up for the Sunday late shift at Rotek Inc., 1400 S. Chillicothe Road, Aurora, were sent home because of what a company representative called a "miscommunication" with a new security firm.

"All shifts are reporting to duty as normal and all employees have access to the facility as normal," Kellie Harris, a spokesperson for ThyssenKrupp North America, which Rotek is a subsidiary of, said Monday. "Last night there was a miscommunication and some employees were sent home."

The employees who were sent home were compensated according to their individual collective bargaining agreements, Harris said.

She would not elaborate on the "miscommunication," except to say it was the fault of a security firm.

"I think it was just new security," Harris said of the employees being sent home. "And they sent people home when they should not have."

Harris would not name the security firm.

At least one person said employees were locked out and "being turned away by hired security" and that the employee entrance was "completely blocked off."

Harris denied there was any sort of lockout.

"Rotek and members of the United Steelworkers local union 8565 recently concluded negotiations during which the union noted a strike as a potential option," Harris said. "A new contract with United Steelworkers has been implemented and all shifts are currently reporting as normal and have access to the facility as normal."

Rotek Inc. is a manufacturer of machine elements called slewing bearings, according to the company's website. It employs 300.
???****???
truth

Louisville, KY

#1207 Mar 10, 2013
AURORA, Ohio - 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 are picketing Rotek, Inc. around the clock protesting the roller bearing company's unilateral implementation of a contract slashing wages 20-30 percent as well as deep cuts in vacations, overtime pay and health insurance.

The company calls it a strike, but the union calls it a "force out," pointing to the action of a strikebreaking security firm that blocked entrance to the plant for the midnight shift Jan. 18 and the arbitrary imposition of across the board, unprecedented cuts.

Rotek said the action of the AFIMAC security guards was due to "miscommunication."

"In my 27 years of bargaining I have never seen anything like this," said USW Staff Representative Dennis Brubaker. "Even when LTV was in bankruptcy in 1986 they only wanted a $3.50 cut in combined wages and benefits. Rotek imposed $6 an hour cuts just in wages. That comes to about $10,000 a year for every worker."

"The mediator wanted to know why such cuts were needed," said union Vice Pres. Marcus Graves, a numerical control machine operator on the picket line, "but the company won't open their books."

As trucks and cars honked support along busy Chillicothe Road near the entrance to the Ohio Turnpike, the pickets gathered in front of a shanty in the snow, warming themselves from a smoking barrel full of burning logs, waving back to the traffic and talking about their predicament.

"It's not fair. It's not right," said Bill, a machinist. "It's classic corporate greed taking it out on the backs of workers."

He recalled the ugly past of Thyssen-Krupp, the giant steel and manufacturing conglomerate and Rotek's parent company, which funded and armed Nazi Germany. Alfred Krupp and co-defendants were convicted of crimes against humanity (plunder and slave labor) in the Nuremburg Trials. Fritz Thyssen, never convicted, was able to launder assets funding Hitler in Dutch and U.S. banks managed by Prescott Bush, father of Pres. George H. W. Bush, according to John Loftus, former U.S. Dept. of Justice Nazi War Crimes Prosecutor.

The pickets blamed Rotek's actions on Timothy Gudszend, the company's new president, a recent graduate in mechanical engineering from Stuttgart, Germany.

"This all started when Dr. Tim came in," Bill said.

"They wouldn't even negotiate until just before the contract expired Nov. 1," said Brubaker. "Then they terminated the contract extension in December and implemented the wage cuts Jan. 14."

"We should know next week if we'll get unemployment benefits," Brubaker said. "The mediator has set a new bargaining session for Feb. 19. We want to have some meaningful talks."

Rotek has tried with little success to recruit scabs. All of the 60 union members laid off last year have refused Rotek's attempts to have them cross the picket line and only a handful of strikebreakers, presumably recruited by AFIMAC, are shipping past orders and doing maintenance.

"There's no production going on here," Bill said, adding that some orders may have been transferred to the company's smaller nonunion plant in Florence, Kentucky.

Rotek makes slewing bearings, rings, which manufacturers attach to equipment that swivels, including wind turbines, telescopes, tunnel cutters and armored vehicle gun turrets. Wind energy has been Rotek's main customer in recent years but the company has suffered from intermittent demand due to the stopping and starting of federal production tax credits (PTCs) the emerging industry needs to compete with fossil fuels.

Pres. Barack Obama has pushed for the program and PTCs were reissued for 2013 as part of December's Fiscal Cliff agreement in Congress, meaning that any wind farm begun this year is eligible.
Feb. 12 2013
truth

Louisville, KY

#1208 Mar 10, 2013
Steelworkers on strike at Rotek Inc. in Aurora

By Tim Troglen | Hudson Hub-Times Published: January 18, 2013 1:19PM

Aurora -- About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, January 18, according to a company spokesperson.

"Members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 at the Rotek Incorporated Aurora, Ohio, facility have elected to strike beginning Jan. 18," according to Kellie Harris, a spokesperson for Rotek, which is located on 1400 S. Chillicothe Road. "Product shipments will continue on schedule as the company continues discussions with union representatives."

Union representatives did not answer the phone number provided by the national union office.

"We are disappointed that approximately 120 members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 have elected to conduct a strike," Harris said.

The company is not planning on bringing in "new labor" to meet "commitments to our customers," she said.

"We look forward to resuming normal operations as soon as possible," Harris added. "Rotek has a business continuation plan in place to meet our commitment to our customers -- this is a matter of responsible management."

On Jan. 13, 11 employees were sent home because of what a company representative called a "miscommunication" with a new security firm.

However, some employees claimed it was a "lockout."

Rotek Inc. is a manufacturer of machine elements called slewing bearings, according to the company's website. It employs 300.
???****???
truth

Louisville, KY

#1209 Mar 10, 2013
Here is a link to the Labor Dispute Issue:

http://jfs.ohio.gov/labordisputes/Source/ROTE ...
truth

Louisville, KY

#1210 Mar 10, 2013
All our jobs being sourced out aka scab supplier.
Look Mom, no drug tests required.

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truth

Louisville, KY

#1211 Mar 10, 2013
Here are 57 bearing companies in NE Ohio. Only 1 in Aurora.

Here is a link to a map to see for yourself.

http://yellowpages.staradvertiser.com/results ...
grant county mafia

Somerset, KY

#1212 Mar 10, 2013
Truth boys mom must of got him up early this morning
truth

Louisville, KY

#1213 Mar 10, 2013
Stand up and fighht back video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch ...
truth

Louisville, KY

#1214 Mar 10, 2013
Job Details

Job ID:

05 - 102338 kd

Title:

CNC Mill/Lathe Machinists

Location:

Aurora OH

Employment Type:

Possible Temp to Hire

Job Category:

Machining

Pay Rate:

$13 to $14/hr temp; $15/hr if perm

Post Date:

02/26/2013

TT SC

Job Description

This manufacturing company is seeking several CNC Mill/Lathe Machinists for immediate full-time opportunities. You will setup and operator CNC mills and lathes. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Job Requirements

Qualified candidates must have setup and operation experience of CNC mills and lathes, and must be quality-minded. This is your opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door.
truth

Louisville, KY

#1215 Mar 10, 2013
Job Details

Job ID:

05 - 102360 kd

Title:

Gear Shaper

Location:

Aurora OH

Employment Type:

Indefinite

Job Category:

Machining

Pay Rate:

$11/hr starting pay

Post Date:

02/26/2013

TT SC

Job Description

This manufacturing company is seeking a Gear Shaper for an immediate full-time opportunity. You will setup and operate gear cutting machinery to cut gear teeth on rings or blanks. Responsibilities include setting up according to the setup sheet specifying all tooling, changing gears and fixtures, using overhead crane or jib to load, unloading and positioning the work piece on machine table, and reading, interpreting and analyzing written job instructions. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Job Requirements

Qualified candidates must have setup and operation experience of gear cutting machinery, must have the ability to read and interpret blueprints, must be able to use various hand tools, must have crane operation experience, and must be able to change gears. This is your opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door.
truth

Louisville, KY

#1216 Mar 10, 2013
Job Details

Job ID:

05 - 102417 kd

Title:

Mechanical Assemblers - 6 needed

Location:

Aurora OH

Employment Type:

Indefinite

Job Category:

Skilled Assembly

Pay Rate:

$11/hr starting pay

Post Date:

02/26/2013

TT SC

Job Description

This manufacturing company is seeking 6 Mechanical Assemblers for full-time, long-term opportunities. You will assemble all sizes and types of bearings, complete for final inspection as manufactured. Duties include referring to drawings and using properly machined and inspected components, such as inner and outer races, balls, seals, rollers and spacers, using a crane to load and unload rings or assemblies, installing rolling elements and spacers or gauges, manually rotating the bearing, installing grease fittings, and checking bearing for dimensional conformance. Work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Job Requirements

Qualified candidates must have strong mechanical assembly experience, must be able to lift up to 40 pounds, must have good hand-eye dexterity, and must be reliable and detail-oriented. This is your opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door.
truth

Louisville, KY

#1217 Mar 10, 2013
Job Details

Job ID:

05 - 102732 kd

Title:

Material Handlers - 2 needed

Location:

Aurora OH

Employment Type:

Indefinite

Job Category:

Shipping & Receiving/Warehouse

Pay Rate:

$12 to $12.50/hr starting pay

Post Date:

02/27/2013

TT SC

Job Description

This manufacturing company is seeking 3 Material Handlers for full-time, long-term opportunities. You will operate forklifts, overhead cranes, hand trucks and other small material handling equipment to transfer material to various locations, stack and move rings onto pallets to be shipped to customers, and load and unload trucks. There are two openings on first shift from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and one opening on third shift from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Job Requirements

Qualified candidates must have forklift and crane operator experience, must be able to follow instructions, must be safety-conscious, and must be reliable and detail-oriented. This is your opportunity to get your foot-in-the-door.
truth

Louisville, KY

#1218 Mar 10, 2013
Job Details

Job ID:

08 - 102248 tj

Title:

Shipping Clerk

Location:

Aurora OH

Employment Type:

Temp to Hire

Job Category:

Shipping & Receiving/Warehouse

Pay Rate:

$10 to $12/hr starting pay

Post Date:

02/26/2013

TT SC

Job Description

This manufacturing company is offering an immediate, full-time position for a Shipping Clerk. You will operate sit-down, stand-up, high-lift and cherry-picker forklifts, enter data into the computer, load and unload trucks, utilize pallet jacks, scanners, banding machines and shrink wrappers, and work with computerized UPS and FedEx shipping.

Job Requirements

Qualified candidates must have shipping/receiving experience, must have forklift operator experience, must be computer literate, and must be detail-oriented and reliable. This is your opportunity to land an immediate position.
grant county mafia

Somerset, KY

#1219 Mar 10, 2013
Its turrets
truth

Louisville, KY

#1220 Mar 10, 2013
truth wrote:
Stand up and fighht back video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch ...
this link no longer works. try this one
truth

Louisville, KY

#1221 Mar 10, 2013
truth wrote:
All our jobs being sourced out aka scab supplier.
Look Mom, no drug tests required.
http://jobs.areatemps.com/index.smpl ...
http://jobs.areatemps.com/index.smpl ...
http://jobs.areatemps.com/index.smpl ...
this links no longer work
truth

Louisville, KY

#1222 Mar 10, 2013
truth wrote:
Here are 57 bearing companies in NE Ohio. Only 1 in Aurora.
Here is a link to a map to see for yourself.
http://yellowpages.staradvertiser.com/results ...
this link no longer works

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