FOND DU LAC - The union representing employees of Mercury Marine has ended avote on a new contract, saying there was nothing left to voteon.
Ballot boxes were pulled as union leaders made the announcementearly Monday afternoon. It was an earlier end than expected to anuncertain re-voting process for Mercury Marine union workers.
“Mercury Marine failed to contact the union by 12 noontoday, therefore there is no last best and final proposal on thetable for the union to vote on,” said Russell Krings, chiefnegotiator for the union, the International Association ofMachinists.
Reading from a prepared statement, union representativesresigned to what company officials have said since Saturday'smidnight deadline that the offer had officially expired.
Union leaders said there was a verbal agreement that votingwould be counted if started before the deadline, while the companysays that was not the case.
“You go, you’re excited, then you'redevastated,” said Felipe Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has worked for Mercury for 15 years, a job that hasbeen all his children have known.
“Saturday night they finally got the revote and my girlsmade signs and congratulations,” said Rodriguez. “Itaffects everyone from eight to 80.”
While Rodriguez is among many workers who say a few extra hoursof consideration was a small request after years of service, thecompany says the deadline was in place because of commitments withits Oklahoma facility.
“We can certainly be sympathetic to employees who aretrying to save their jobs,” said Mercury Marine spokesmanSteve Fleming. “And I don't mean to be cold but I don't thinkthe people in Stillwater don't care too much about the union guyswanting another vote.”
Union leaders say the majority of the members did come out forthe re-vote but haven't said if they will release the results nowthat the fate appears sealed.
“It was close. We don't see the ballots we just run theelection,” said Kevin Moore, a Mercury Marine employee.
A spokesman for Mercury says they are going forward with theplan to start moving the manufacturing jobs to Oklahoma.
However, company officials did meet with city and county leadersMonday. That was to talk about trying to keep an additional 800administrative jobs here in Fond du Lac.
The company says it hopes to make its decision on those jobssometime this week.
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