Union-management negotiations were expected to begin Feb. 22 and possibly continue through the weekend between Siegel-Robert Plating Co. and some 250 union employees on strike since Feb. 17. Earnest Goodlow, business representative for the Metal Polish-ers-Buffers-Platers International Union Local 13 said ``we're quite a piece apart'' on wage demands involving a three-year labor contract with the firm.
If ratified, a contract would run through 1999, Goodlow said.
Siegel-Robert, in business since 1946 in South St. Louis, Mo., is a private-concern that manufactures plated front grilles for Ford Motor Co. and plastic light-lens parts for General Motors Corp. and other automotive original equipment manufacturers.
Goodlow said that to his knowledge, no strikers had crossed the picket line to accept ``permanent strike replacement'' jobs advertised by the company.
Goodlow, himself a retired, 29-year employee of the Siegel-Robert plant, said the action was the first at the facility in his memory.
John Maxwell, Siegel-Robert vice president, confirmed Feb. 21 that the strike was ongoing, but declined to say if replacement workers had been hired in sufficient numbers to keep the automobile parts supplier operating without interruption.
Neither Maxwell nor Goodlow had a figure for the number of replacement workers hired by the company since the beginning of the dispute.
Goodlow said if no progress is made in the Feb. 22 meeting, ``I'm going to try and schedule something real soon after that.''