Thor America employees will decide Wednesday (March 23) whether to accept management’s wage cuts and health insurance increases to prevent the closing of the Middleburg, Pa., towable plant.
According to the Daily Item, officials from the builder’s parent company, Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor Industries Inc., moved to reopen the union contract, citing declining sales of recreational vehicles. They blamed a high absenteeism rate among the plant’s 120 union workers for the drop in production.
Company management and the employees’ union, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, have been negotiating since January.
To avoid closing the 28-year-old manufacturing plant by April 15, the company proposed reducing the starting hourly wage from $13.40 to $9, with incentive pay for meeting production quotas, and increasing employees’ health insurance contributions.
No compromise was reached, and the talks ended last Thursday, said Doug Dean, president of the union’s Middleburg chapter.
“We did what we thought we needed to do,” Dean said. The company’s offer will be explained to the union members Tuesday and a vote will be held Wednesday, he said.
Dean, who has worked at the plant for 23 years, said he has “mixed emotions” about Wednesday’s vote. “At this point, it’s up to our people,” he said.