Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. is facing a union drive at its hot-runner factory in Milton, Vt.
The International Association of Machinists filed papers Jan. 18 with the National Labor Relations Board to represent Husky workers. Under NLRB rules, IAM must show that at least 30 percent of people in the bargaining unit favor the union, said Bob Redbord, deputy regional lawyer with NLRB's Region 1 office in Boston. The union, which had employees sign a petition, said the bargaining unit comprises 145 production and maintenance workers.
Husky employs a total of 350 at the Milton hot-runner plant, which opened in 1998.
IAM organizer Paul Urbanczyk said ``changes in the workplace'' prompted the Milton employees to take steps to form a union. ``They feel that conditions at work could be better,'' he said. ``They've seen a lot of takebacks in the past, and they're exercising their right to form a union.''
Urbanczyk declined to get into specific issues but said: ``Benefits have been taken away in the recent past, and [workers] basically want to stop the bleeding.''
Husky believes the Vermont employees do not need a union, said Dirk Schlimm, Husky's vice president of corporate affairs. Husky is trying to support customers and be globally competitive, he said.
``We do not believe that bringing in a union could help us do these things better than we could today,'' he said.
Schlimm said Husky is one of Vermont's best employers. ``We believe that our benefits, working conditions and compensation are ... outstanding. If we felt that an outside party could do anything to improve our product quality, reduce our costs or improve our productivity, we would have brought them into the picture a long time ago.''
An NLRB hearing was scheduled for Jan. 30 to discuss any disagreements between union and management about a union election. If there are none, the labor board will conduct an election in Milton within 42 days after the petition was filed, Redbord said.