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Contract Talks to Resume Wednesday - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Contract Talks to Resume Wednesday

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3/20 UPDATE

Some locked-out workers at the Detroit Lakes Snappy Air Distribution Plant will return to their posts Wednesday according to Jim Bowman with the sheet metal local union.

The workers still have not made a deal with management, but contract talks will resume Wednesday morning.

As Valley News Live first reported, nearly 100 union workers have been locked-out of a job since March 11 because of disputes over raises and health care cost increases.

Updated 3/11 at 7pm

Nearly 100 people are without a job tonight. Snappy Air Distribution in Detroit Lakes locked it's union members out this morning after a new contract agreement wasn't met on Friday. Union members were trying to get their first raise in more than five years. Today Valley News Live looked into how the union is coping on day one of the lockout.

It's not that different than how the lockout began at American Crystal. Union representatives and upper management at Snappy Air Distribution in Detroit Lakes couldn't agree on how to cover health care benefits and increased wages. Therefore, 96 people showed up Monday, locked out.

The business manager for Sheet Metal Workers Union 10 says the move effects more than the companies bottom line," I think it's sad that the company is mistreating the workers. Especially when they have over 70 people that have been there at least 25 years. Where is the allegiance to the employees? They're not asking for a lot."

On Friday the Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 Union decided they would not accept Snappy Air Distributions most recent offer. It was another pay freeze that would last the next three years, and an increased financial responsibility for employees to take care of health care costs.

Monday the two sides were able to touch base, but the company isn't willing to budge on any type of raise today, "they would entertain talking to us about any language change... But there would not be any monetary increases, not one cent." Says Bowman.

Union workers at Snappy's haven't gotten a raise since 2007. It was just three years ago that union members accepted a pay freeze, some even took a pay cut. The starting wage at Snappy Air Distribution is 12.50 an hour, with the highest paid folks working the floor making just over 17 bucks an hour. So how much more are they asking for? Bowman breaks it down into common sense. "We were only asking for ten cents. It was a small monetary increase every year." Says Bowman.

96 people, your neighbors out in Detroit lakes, are locked out of their job today. Some think it's because their boss is an investment group in Philadelphia. Who's bottom line isn't the same as the folks in DL who work here. "They restructure a company and try to make it more profitable. And then they sell it and move onto the next one. It's all about the money when you talk about an investment group." Says Bowman.

We reached out to Snappy Air Distribution today. But they redirected us to a human resources manager out in Philadelphia. They never got back to us. Union officials on the other hand told us today that until there's a new offer from the company the two sides are at a stand still.

Original Story

Starting at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning close to 100 workers are now locked out their jobs in Detroit Lakes. According to an employee that wishes to remain anonymous, 90 some Snappy Air Distribution came to work Monday morning only to find they no longer had a job.

Snappy Air Distribution is a union shop and on Friday, March 8 at 3:00 p.m. the contract between the Sheet Metal Workers Union and Snappy was rejected by vote.

Valley News Team's Eric Crest is in Detroit Lakes speaking with employees, and former employees who may now be without jobs and everything that goes along with it, like health insurance. We will have much more on this story tonight on Valley News Live.

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