Fairbanks Scales workers may strike

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(Host) Eighty-one workers at Fairbanks Scales in Saint Johnsbury will vote Friday morning on whether to strike or continue contract negotiations with the company. Their current contract expires at midnight Thursday.

Bob South is the president of United Electrical, Radio and Machine workers local:

(South) “The company has offered a three-year contract with no wage increase in the three years. They want to freeze our pension. And they want us to pay 45% of our health care costs. Right now we pay about 10%.”

(Host) South says in a month of negotiations, there’s been no progress on the health insurance and pension issues. He says there’s a strong feeling among workers that the company offer is unacceptable:

(South) “Because a lot of people have worked for this country for 20 or 30 years or more, it’s a slap in their face, they feel. And the membership has made it very clear that they are not going to be paying that, and they’re not going to have their pension froze. The battle lines have been drawn.”

(Host) The negotiator for the company declined to comment on the progress of the negotiations.

Fairbanks Scales was started in Saint Johnsbury in 1830. The company was sold in 1988 and the headquarters moved to Kansas City. Fairbanks Scales manufacturing plants are located in St. Johnsbury and in Meridian, Mississippi.

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