TORONTO - A generous severance package for Royalguard Vinyl Co. workers will not dissuade the United Steelworkers of America from organizing the vinyl siding operation when it moves from Toronto to Tennessee, said Harry Hynd, USWA Ontario director. ``We will never give up our right to organize,'' Hynd said in a telephone interview from USWA's Toronto office. ``If there is any interest among the Tennessee employees, we will try to organize.''
Royalguard agreed to pay workers five weeks of regular wages for each year or partial year of employment in the company, and will continue benefit plans, such as medical and dental, for 26 weeks after layoffs. In turn, USWA agreed to stop a public campaign of promoting boycotts against Royalguard and Royal Plastics Group.
USWA claimed in a news release that the agreement is the largest per-year-of-service settlement in the history of the province of Ontario. It is worth about C$1 million (US$740,000).
Royal Plastics spokesman Mark Badger said about 120 of Royalguard's 140 employees are covered in the agreement. The rest are salaried personnel. He also said the severance covers only workers who do not transfer to other Royal operations, and that Royal already placed a number of employees at its other plants.
Royal announced July 14 that it will relocate the Royalguard plant to Newbern, Tenn., by late October to be closer to fast-growing markets. Royalguard employees recently were awarded their first collective bargaining contract, which the USWA claimed was the real reason for the Royalguard move.