Workers at employee-owned plant settle Essay

A possible closedown of employee-owned Hyatt Clark Industries,
Clark, NJ, was averted when United Auto Workers Local 736 agreed to a
contract. The settlement came at the deadline set by General Motors
Corp., which had announced that it would shift to other suppliers of
roller bearings if there was a work stoppage. (GM provides 85 percent
of Hyatt’s busness.) The plant had been owned by General Motors
until October 1981, when the employees purchased it to avert a scheduled
shutdown. To help finance the acquisition, the employees had agreed to
a number of cuts in compensation and changes in work rules. (See
Monthly Labor Review, January 1982, p. 22.)

The new 3-year agreement, negotiated in mid-December, provided for
50 cents an hour wage increases in the first and second years and 55
cents in the final year. About 1,250 workers were involved.

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To some extent, the negotiations were slowed by disputes between
Hyatt and the union members over the degree of participation in
management that the workers should be given. The workers contended that
their input was far short of the level anticipated when the plant was
purchased, while management maintained that any increase in the current
level would hamper production.


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