Textron Workers

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

More than 700 Textron workers are voting Wednesday whether to unionize. Two of the three plants involved are slated to close next year, but workers hope a union could save their jobs.

It started as an effort to improve communication with upper management. Now, Textron workers are hoping a union can save their jobs.

"We had enough of everything taken away from us. This is our last hope," says Dennis Hildebrand.

About 700 employees at three plants are voting today whether to join the United Auto Workers Uunion.

"I want everything to be in writing. Nothing's in writing right now. They can say one thing one day and next day change their minds," Ron Rennels says.

But the union may be too late. The election was set up before Textron announced it will close two more plants next year.

"It might just shift our priorities to where our first priority after the workers win their union will be to negotiate to keep the plants open and keep the jobs here in Rockford,” says Mark Haasis.

If union management can't work out an alterative to the closure, union leaders say they can negotiate severance packages, pensions and health-care coverage for laid-off workers.

There appears to be a good deal of support for the union at Textron plants, but the officials results won't be known until after 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

Employees at Taptite in Belvidere, and Precision Formed Products and Large Diameter Raycarl in Rockford are participating in the vote. Polls close at 6 p.m. A spokesman for Textron says the vote would not save Textron plants from closing.


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