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Last updated: August 24. 2013 5:06PM - 16 Views

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VAN WERT — Workers at a Van Wert manufacturer got some hard news in an e-mail Monday night.Aaron Collins, president of the United Steelworkers union Local 1-524, said late Tuesday that Kongsberg Automotive, formerly known as Teleflex, intends to send 200 jobs to Mexico beginning in July and finished by January, Collins said.The factory, which manufactures automotive transmission parts, has been in operation since 1966; it is one of the biggest employers in town with 330 people, officials said.Amid negotiations and a lock-out that began earlier this month, Collins said he received the e-mail Monday night. He said it came from the company attorney’s e-mail account and was signed by the plant manager.Although officials from the company declined comment, Collins said their intentions are imminent and now the union is left negotiating what happens to the jobs until then and what will happen to the remaining 130 jobs once the move is made. Collins said the company wants to go to a two-tier wage system, making any new jobs or new hires at a second tier, which is $9 per hour.Collins said company and union officials met Tuesday and the union made a counterproposal late in the afternoon.At 10:30 a.m. today the company is expected to respond to the proposal.Collins said the company is giving the union until Friday to sign a contract or face severe pay cuts of several dollars an hour.“If we don’t vote it in by Friday, if we ever did come back, we would only be able to come back at $9 per hour,” Collins said. “If we don’t sign by Friday, we’d never be able to return at current wage. We would come back at $9 per hour to fill jobs that would be leaving no matter what.”Collins said the stipulation is that by voting and signing Friday, they could return to work at those jobs until they move them to Mexico. However, he said, they are not guaranteeing that.“We don’t want to lose 40 percent of our wages,” Collins said. “I don’t think you can live on $9 per hour.”Automotive supplier Kongsberg Automotive Holding of Norway purchased Teleflex last year in a sale that became final in January.



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