FOND DU LAC - In light of the uncertainty surrounding the voting by Mercuryemployees on the company’s “best and final” offermade earlier to the International Association of Machinists andAerospace Workers, Mercury and the IAM Midwest Territory haveagreed to meet to bring clarity to the communications regarding theunchanged “best and final” proposal.
On Monday a second vote of that proposal was called off midvote,leaving those who fought for that opportunity wondering what wentwrong.
"If you're going to pull 800 some jobs out of Fond du Lac overmissing a deadline when you see that people are doing something,you know I think that's wrong," union member Felipe Rodriguezsaid.
Rodriguez pushed hard for a second vote on Mercury's proposal.That vote was approved by the International Association ofMachinists Saturday night, but with the company's midnight deadlinefirm the effort proved too little too late.
Around 2:00 Monday union leaders pulled the ballot box andcancelled the vote. Leaders said that because the company failed toclarify its position in writing there essentially was no contractto vote on.
The company commends workers for their efforts to vote again,but says it has obligations to Stillwater. Mercury says the unionwaited too long.
"You can certainly be sympathetic to the employees who aretrying to save their jobs but we still have a situation that we'refacing," Mercury spokesperson Steve Fleming said.
Yet, some Mercury workers feel their years of service haveearned them an extra day to complete the vote.
"We built this company and by leaving they're going to shootthemselves in the foot," retired worker Leroy Abitz said.
Some feel the company decided to move before the vote. Thecounty doesn't see it that way.
"They would not have gone through all of this had they plannedto leave, they just would have left," County Executive AllenBuechel said.
While the manufacturing jobs are a loss, the county isoptimistic about salaried positions.
"We certainly can't let the headquarters go and put another 800people out of work," Buechel said.
Local and state officials continue to meet with the company todiscuss and incentive package to keep Mercury's global headquartersin Fond du Lac. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.
As for the ballots that were cast, union leaders won't say ifthe results will ever be revealed.
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