Warner Electric Workers Reject Offer

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

On the pro side is keeping their jobs. On the con list is pay cuts and spending more money on your personal medical expenses. One hundred Warner Electric workers in South Beloit have opted for unemployment over a pay cut.

Local 3245 President Steve Reynolds says, ‘The membership has spoken and it has rejected the wage and benefit concessions that were on this proposal."

Members of the United Steelworkers of America Local 3245 voted fifty two to forty four to reject a new contract from their employer, Warner Electric.

Reynolds states, "The company's position is to close the plant if it was voted down."

South Beloit Mayor Randy Kirchkow was disappointed by the union's decision to choose unemployment over a pay cut. However, union members think they did the right thing. Myra Pickett has been with Warner Electric for over 20 years and her husband was also a longtime employee and together the two have 60 plus years at the company.

Myra Pickett, a union member says, "I'm glad that everyone's letting this company know that they aren't going to take this."

Pickett says it wasn't the proposed pay cut that upset her. She says, "When they take away the benefits, that's what hurts the most."

And while the union voted to reject the offer, Reynolds says there is still hope.

He goes on to say, "Things to come will be decided, if the company's position is to continue with effects bargaining then that's what we'll continue to do as early as next week."

While the manufacturing jobs will be leaving town, the non-union jobs will not be affected by this decision. The plant has said they will keep customer service, engineering, and industrial technology operations in the existing building.

Warner's Parent company, Altra-Industrial Motion, will most likely begin moving the jobs to Connecticut in August. Mayor Kirchkow says moving the manufacturing jobs from South Beloit to Connecticut will save the company $5 million but will leave a $5 million dent in the local economy.


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