After Sacrifices to Improve Armstrong Bottom Line, Local 175 Members Take Stand Against Corporate Greed
BEVERLY, W.Va., Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Teamsters Local 175 overwhelmingly rejected a contract proposal today by Armstrong Hardwood Flooring Co., announced Local 175 President and International Vice President Ken Hall.
The company is a subsidiary of the nearly $3 billion Armstrong World Industries Inc., based in Lancaster, Pa.
Armstrong is seeking massive premium increases and severe benefit cuts on the 550 Teamsters working at the Beverly manufacturing facility despite the fact that the company's health care cost for this group has decreased by more than 21 percent since 2007. This cost reduction is a result of employees' previously agreed-to reductions in their health care benefits as well as their participation in wellness programs.
The company's proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by a 2-to-1 majority.
"These courageous workers took a stand tonight against corporate greed," Hall said. "They've already done more than their fair share during tough economic times to save the company money. They're paying more for health care and getting reduced benefits, allowing Armstrong to cut health care costs by 21 percent during a time of escalating prices. There's reasonableness and then there's corporate greed. How much is enough for Armstrong?"
Also, in recognition of the challenges facing the flooring market during the recession, the Beverly workers had agreed to a 22-month extension of the current, three-year contract. That extension expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The company pays about $558 per worker in health care costs, while the average cost for a company is well over $1,000 per worker.
"Armstrong Teamsters have consistently recognized the company's economic concerns and have stepped up to do their part," Hall said. "Now the company wants to line its pockets on the backs of these workers by doubling their health care contribution levels. It's an insult."
Armstrong also proposed a 50 percent increase in deductibles, substantially reducing prescription drug coverage and eliminating the defined benefit pension plan for newly hired employees.
As further evidence of the employees' willingness to help this company, they have agreed to continue working, in the hope that a fair settlement can be reached.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit www.Teamster.org or www.teamsters175.org.
SOURCE Teamsters Local 175