CALDWELL, Ohio -- Representatives from International Converter and the United Mine Workers say they will be sitting down at the negotiator's table again next week.
Members of UMWA Local 4826 went on strike at the Caldwell plant nearly two weeks ago after voting down a proposed contract with International Converter. At that time, Donnie Samms, union Vice President-at-Large, told AVC News that one of the main sticking points in negotiations was the company's refusal to give the union the information it needed to propose a fair wage increase, namely, the plant's profits for the previous three years.
On Friday morning, both sides announced that they will be meeting with federal mediators on Wednesday, May 28, to resume negotiations. UMWA spokesman Nicholas Lonetti said that the union is looking forward to meeting with International Converter officials for the first time since May 14:
Jo LeMoine, Vice President of Human Resources for International Converter, also spoke with AVC News on Friday. She said that the company hopes to reach a fair agreement and get back to serving the customers:
In a bargaining update released Friday morning, International Converter highlighted a tentative, three-year agreement that includes a two percent annual increase. The last union contract, negotiated in 2011, allowed for a three-quarters of a percent raise each year.
Local UMWA President Bill Wheeler told AVC News on May 13 that the Caldwell plant is the safest of International Converter's 13 sister plants, and has gone more than 700 days without a workplace accident. The Caldwell plant also manufactures some of International Converter's most in-demand products, making it one of the company's most valuable locations. The Noble County Commissioners, State Sen. Lou Gentile, and many Caldwell-area businesses have voiced their support for the UMWA workers.
International Convertor is a subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Packaging Dynamics Corporation, and is one of the nation's leading suppliers of food and drug packaging products.
AVC News will update you as new developments occur.