SK Hand Tools hit by strike in Defiance

Apr 2, 2009 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Journal Gazette

Unable to negotiate a new labor contract Wednesday, about 70 union workers walked out of a Defiance, Ohio, tool plant.

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Jim the realist

Bedford, OH

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#1
Apr 3, 2009
 

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Growing up in a union family I have seen the good that a union does for the members and their families. But stories like this make me really sick. In todays economy with thousand/millions of people out of work, how can these people go on strike? Espically in the hard hit Ohio area. Now is not the time to stand the hard line when it appears you have a company that is trying to keep jobs here in America. I have been into several major manufacturing plants and know that someone putting a gasket and bolt on an engine does not deserve $30 per hour. As someone out of work now the people at defiance should be happy to have a secure job.
jim the striker

Tiffin, OH

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#2
Apr 5, 2009
 

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I've worked at sk for 25 years & without any raise in the last 8 yrs. The company now wants us to pretty much pay for our own health insurance , cancel our life insurance , take 17% of my pay, take away 2 weeks vacation , 12 holidays over the next 3 yrs & be able to fire an employee almost at will . Jim the realist? Heres reality , we work for a frenchman that wants to capitalize on a bad economy & bad timing for contract to end. We were also informed by the company , that their bank froze their credit line. If it's the same bank that handles our payroll , that would be JPMorgan Chase bank out of Chicago. Why dont you look at what moneys they recieved ?
Eve

Saint Charles, IL

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#3
Apr 13, 2009
 

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To: Jim the realist.
I think you have no idea what these people are going thru, before posting a comment like this, maybe you should check some facts. My father works in one of their plants and has worked there for a long time. Had a pay cut 2 years ago of about 15%. Makes what he made when he started (not even close to $30.00 or even $20.00 an hour). His employer who is SK Hand Tool Corp wants to sign a a new contract for 3 years, not one year. They want to cut employees salaries by 25%, take away their holiday pay, insurance coverage for spouse and they also want to cut their vacation pay. With all of these pay cuts I think employees at McDonalds are better off.
Jim the striker

Melrose Park, IL

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#4
Apr 15, 2009
 

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Stand in there. We all at SK in Chicago feel the same as you do.Good luck This Thursday at the meeting.We all have to fight for what is right during this time.And Jim the Realist doesn't have a clue what we are going throught with these Owners thinking the can bring a third world contry here to the United States!!!Let me finish with this in mind,we all are the heart of this company and need to stick together.
SK Hand Tool

Arlington Heights, IL

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#5
Apr 15, 2009
 

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SK Hand Tool Corporation employs about 70 union workers at its Defiance facility, primarily manufacturing wrenches and ratchets. Like many other industrial companies, SK is affected by the recession and needs to streamline its cost basis throughout the organization to adapt to the new market conditions. SK has been in discussion with the union since December of 2008 and has withdrawn the vast majority of its proposals in the course of the negotiations and feels it reached the best compromise.
The 70 union workers in this plant feel otherwise and have been on strike since April 1st. The extension of the strike has become a real problem to SK and could force the company to seek a new source of supply of wrenches. Management hopes that the union can quickly reach an agreement to get the plant back to work.
Getting through the recession means accepting some temporary cuts that are far better than being exposed to unemployment in these difficult times. The key is solidarity. SK has no plan in closing the facility but in order to protect employment and develop production SK will need concessions to be made on the union side.
Pay checks for union members are 20% higher than the US average for similar jobs with some members earning up to $85,000 annually. Overall SK management has accepted additional duties due to a 25% reduction in headcount, accepted pay cuts, elimination of 401K matching contributions and reduction of other fringe benefits. No bonuses were paid for 2008 nor will there be in the near future to managers of the company. Managers have unanimously accepted these conditions.
The company will continue to offer incentive jobs allowing workers to gain up to 200% of their base rate, and maintain all benefits, including seniority rights, pension, vacation, holidays, life insurance and medical insurance. Employee contributions to health care plans will continue to be under US averages.
Pay rate cuts, as the result of the negotiation, should be on a temporary basis, but the company cannot continue to pay production incentive bonuses for hours not spent on manufacturing products.
another employee

Sterling, IL

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#6
Apr 17, 2009
 

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Dude, you have no Idea about this company. It is most likely going to come down to a strike in SK's chicago plant too. Jim the Realist you are an idiot, how much would you let the company take from you? These people are looking to have us working for a take home of $200 per week, can you support a family on that? I can't and neither can any of the employees here either. These owners are CHEAP they'll take money from us before they take it out of their own pockets. And the real kicker is they are 6 million in debt and they only want money from us so the banks will give them more money on their loans to go farther into debt. Yeah so they can come to us in another 3 years and take more. These people have given up over 30% of their pay over the last 7 or 8 years it's time we got something back. WE ARE NOT GIVING IN.
another employee

Sterling, IL

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#7
Apr 17, 2009
 

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I work at the chicago plant and $13.10 per hour is no where close to 85,000 per year. Plus actually for the type of machine operators, since we also set up our own machines we are underpaid by about $5.39 per hour. The average for these positions is 18.49 per hour.
SK Hand Tool wrote:
SK Hand Tool Corporation employs about 70 union workers at its Defiance facility, primarily manufacturing wrenches and ratchets. Like many other industrial companies, SK is affected by the recession and needs to streamline its cost basis throughout the organization to adapt to the new market conditions. SK has been in discussion with the union since December of 2008 and has withdrawn the vast majority of its proposals in the course of the negotiations and feels it reached the best compromise.
The 70 union workers in this plant feel otherwise and have been on strike since April 1st. The extension of the strike has become a real problem to SK and could force the company to seek a new source of supply of wrenches. Management hopes that the union can quickly reach an agreement to get the plant back to work.
Getting through the recession means accepting some temporary cuts that are far better than being exposed to unemployment in these difficult times. The key is solidarity. SK has no plan in closing the facility but in order to protect employment and develop production SK will need concessions to be made on the union side.
Pay checks for union members are 20% higher than the US average for similar jobs with some members earning up to $85,000 annually. Overall SK management has accepted additional duties due to a 25% reduction in headcount, accepted pay cuts, elimination of 401K matching contributions and reduction of other fringe benefits. No bonuses were paid for 2008 nor will there be in the near future to managers of the company. Managers have unanimously accepted these conditions.
The company will continue to offer incentive jobs allowing workers to gain up to 200% of their base rate, and maintain all benefits, including seniority rights, pension, vacation, holidays, life insurance and medical insurance. Employee contributions to health care plans will continue to be under US averages.
Pay rate cuts, as the result of the negotiation, should be on a temporary basis, but the company cannot continue to pay production incentive bonuses for hours not spent on manufacturing products.
Jim the realist

Aurora, IL

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#8
Apr 20, 2009
 

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Well another employee,

I understand that you are asked to give back a great deal to SK. But there has to be a middle ground. I mean really 12 paid holidays? Plus all of you need to think of all the other familes you are affecting by going on strike. What about the trucking companines, people that make the packaging, sales guys, customers, and numerous other companines that have SK as a major company!! I'm not saying to work for free but I'm sure there is a long line of workers that would gladly fill your jobs in no time. The problem is that people feel it is me against the company. When in reality it should be us as a company. I hate to see all of you added to the millions without jobs. What is your plan if SK goes under?
another employee wrote:
Dude, you have no Idea about this company. It is most likely going to come down to a strike in SK's chicago plant too. Jim the Realist you are an idiot, how much would you let the company take from you? These people are looking to have us working for a take home of $200 per week, can you support a family on that? I can't and neither can any of the employees here either. These owners are CHEAP they'll take money from us before they take it out of their own pockets. And the real kicker is they are 6 million in debt and they only want money from us so the banks will give them more money on their loans to go farther into debt. Yeah so they can come to us in another 3 years and take more. These people have given up over 30% of their pay over the last 7 or 8 years it's time we got something back. WE ARE NOT GIVING IN.
Mike the realist

Aurora, IL

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#9
Apr 21, 2009
 

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I own a small business that provides services for SK Hand Tools. This strike has a ripple effect. SK cannot pay me. I am now in a situation that I cannot pay meyself or my 10 employees. They have now have been layed off and I will be closing in the near future. My employees families and my damily thanks you.
another striker

Oak Lawn, IL

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#10
May 16, 2009
 

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I guess everybody knows the last news, S K Hand Tools not longer provide Medical insurance for their employees leaving all the employees very vulnarable for private insurances besides all the concesions that have to make Defiance workers now they have to deal with this new situation. My questions is how longer the people can handle this or is just the greed of few people who are creating all this to get rid of all the seniors employees trying to break the union and create a sweat shop? just like in China, Korea, or Mexico?. Please all employees stand together on this dificult times and show respect to this people but mostly to ourselves. Don't give up! I will not give up!!
JUST ME

Noblesville, IN

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#11
May 22, 2009
 

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another striker wrote:
I guess everybody knows the last news, S K Hand Tools not longer provide Medical insurance for their employees leaving all the employees very vulnarable for private insurances besides all the concesions that have to make Defiance workers now they have to deal with this new situation. My questions is how longer the people can handle this or is just the greed of few people who are creating all this to get rid of all the seniors employees trying to break the union and create a sweat shop? just like in China, Korea, or Mexico?. Please all employees stand together on this dificult times and show respect to this people but mostly to ourselves. Don't give up! I will not give up!!
Some people dont understand the situation SK has created for some of their workers taking almost everything from them, forget about the dedication and hard work of its employees. The arrogance and stupidity of the "Human resources VP" has more to do with this situation that the economy. They cut salaries, 401k, insurance and who knows what else, but I bet the VIP's dont have the same problems we do. Where is the old SK Management team?
Dont blame workers

Chicago, IL

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#12
Aug 27, 2009
 

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Mike the realist wrote:
I own a small business that provides services for SK Hand Tools. This strike has a ripple effect. SK cannot pay me. I am now in a situation that I cannot pay meyself or my 10 employees. They have now have been layed off and I will be closing in the near future. My employees families and my damily thanks you.
I am sorry you had to lay off your workers but do think it is fair to my mother who has worked for S&K for 30 plus years to lose more than 1/2 her salary, 401K and medical coverage. The company was sold to a French bastard who wants to pay for his newly build home and new Mercedes Benz with my mother's sweat for free. They cut off the heat in the winter to save on the gas bill. NICE GUY! My father has also lost his jobs due to this terrible economy. So for my mother to take another pay cut so the asshole can pay for his new car (Mercedes Benz), new house is crazy…. So put the blame where it needs to go and that is the owner who is too greedy. Oh did I mention he bought a half a million dollar automatic machine to lay off more workers. Again NICE GUY. They can't afford to pay keep their workers medical but they can spend that kind of money on a machine. You and many others don't know the whole facts of this story. Learn the facts before you speak against a worker only trying to make an honest living! Believe me when I say these workers and not getting rich working for S&K Hand Tools.
Dont blame workers

Chicago, IL

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#13
Aug 27, 2009
 

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Jim the realist wrote:
Well another employee,
I understand that you are asked to give back a great deal to SK. But there has to be a middle ground. I mean really 12 paid holidays? Plus all of you need to think of all the other familes you are affecting by going on strike. What about the trucking companines, people that make the packaging, sales guys, customers, and numerous other companines that have SK as a major company!! I'm not saying to work for free but I'm sure there is a long line of workers that would gladly fill your jobs in no time. The problem is that people feel it is me against the company. When in reality it should be us as a company. I hate to see all of you added to the millions without jobs. What is your plan if SK goes under?
<quoted text>
I agree with the "another employee" Jim the Realist you are an idiot! You try and raise a family on $200.00 a week with no insurance and tell me how that works out for you. Stupid fool!
from yesterday

Chicago, IL

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#14
Aug 27, 2009
 
please post my reply from yesterday....
Thnks
CareForThIs

Plainsboro, NJ

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#15
Aug 29, 2009
 

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Does anyone know who the actual health care provider was for S-K Tools ? And is it the French and/or Black & Decker that owns S-k?

Fine drop the coverage then give them eonugh pay to buy some kind of insurance on their own.
Fetch

United States

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#16
Aug 30, 2009
 
Hmmm
Another Striker

Oak Lawn, IL

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#17
Aug 31, 2009
 

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The Company is own mayoritarily by Claude Fulger who is French. He came in 2002 send by Facom who used to owned S K to work as CFO then Michel Mulin, Cliff Rusnack and Him bought the company. Since they owned S K their have been 6 years with no rise in wages but its been constantly increses in employees contributions to health care. In May without notice they cut the insurance and still asking for deep monetary concesions to its workers leaving most of them with minimum wage and no insurance. Please support the striker againg this crooks from another country.
MADEINTHEUSA

Philadelphia, PA

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#18
Sep 7, 2009
 

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Unfortunately we all must concede, and rebuild. As many have previously stated it is the ripple effect! How about the distributors who have backed this product line for decades? Pretty soon their confidence will erode to a point of no return, and already it has for many of them! Follow the blogs!

We all deserve to get paid, but sometimes the team has to take three steps back and punt! Lets all regroup (management, workers, suppliers, distributors) and take the challenge. Rebuild this company, and if done quickly, we can all resolve the issues that the foreign owners have created and get back some of the concessions we have been made to forfeit.

I am a concerned buyer and stocker of SK HAND TOOLS, and want to continue to back this Made in the USA Company
RAT

Chicago, IL

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#19
Oct 10, 2009
 
AFTER READING ALL COMMENTS I NOW UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE ON STRIKE. BUT I NEED SOME TYPE OF INCOME.I AM SORRY.BUT I MAKE GOOD MONEY AT SK. WHAT ABOUT McCOOK,? THEY HAVE CROSSED OVER AND DONT CARE ABOUT LOYALTY.GOD BE WITH ALL OF US THESE DAYS AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!
Mobile Dealer

Olney, MD

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#20
Oct 16, 2009
 

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All good things come to an end. I believe that KD / Gearwrench has also had an effect on SK overall. KD, unlike SK, has offered over a very short period of time a product line that is more in line with the Auto repair industry. IMO, SK tool line has become stale over the years. No new real innovation with the exception of their air tool line, which btw, I like very much. So with the tough economic times and a company like KD to take away a huge part of that market share, SK is destined to become a thing of the past.

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