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 acontract. The settlement came at the deadline set by General MotorsCorp., which had announced that it would shift to other suppliers ofroller bearings if there was a work stoppage. (GM provides 85 percentof Hyatt’s busness.) The plant had been owned by General Motorsuntil October 1981, when the employees purchased it to avert a scheduledshutdown.

To help finance the acquisition, the employees had agreed toa number of cuts in compensation and changes in work rules. (SeeMonthly Labor Review, January 1982, p. 22.) The new 3-year agreement, negotiated in mid-December, provided for50 cents an hour wage increases in the first and second years and 55cents in the final year. About 1,250 workers were involved. To some extent, the negotiations were slowed by disputes betweenHyatt and the union members over the degree of participation inmanagement that the workers should be given. The workers contended thattheir input was far short of the level anticipated when the plant waspurchased, while management maintained that any increase in the currentlevel would hamper production.


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