Plant workers unionize, hope for better treatment, benefits - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Plant workers unionize, hope for better treatment, benefits

June 17, 2005

Americus- More than 300 Americus plant workers are expecting changes after voting to unionize.

The employees at Collins & Aikman voted to join the United Steelworkers of America yesterday. Employees say since the company bought the plant a few years ago, they haven't had a raise, some of their benefits were taken away and they were treated unfairly.

"Not to the point where we wasn't able to work in a respectable place, but just certain things we felt needed to be changed," said forklift operator John Hawkins.

The plant, which produces bumpers for vehicles, was Textron until Collins and Aikman bought it three years ago. A company spokesman told WALB Friday that they respect employees rights to seek labor representation.

"What will ultimately determine the fate of any plant is its ability to meet demands for competitive pricing, customer service, and ability to deliever quality products," said David Youngman, director of corporate communications for Collin & Aikman.

The company filed for Chapter 11 on May 17th.

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