Streater employees protest benefit cuts

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2002

The union workers of Streater, Inc. staged a rally Thursday to demand that the company come back to the negotiation table to take over health benefits for retired workers.

According to Midwestern Industrial Council Business Representative Don Kern, parent body of Carpenters Union Local 766, about 300 employees and ex-employees gathered in front of the company between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The company stopped providing health care benefits to retirees after a new union contract was reached in June. At least 56 ex-workers are affected by the decision. The union contends that the termination was not discussed in the bargaining process, while management believes it was a part of the agreement.

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Kern said the company maintained its health benefits for non-union retirees, which he considers discrimination against union employees.

The company also brought in subcontractors without consulting the union. Kern said they would ask the company to come back to the bargaining table and talk about the issues.