With the clock ticking on the current union contract at Armstrong’s Macon ceiling plant, company and union officials began bargaining talks this week.
The contract expires Oct. 3. The Macon plant has not had a strike or lockout since the 1970s. However, Armstrong’s ceiling plant in Marietta, Pa., is in week six of a lockout, and workers there are members of the United Steelworkers, the same union as in Macon.
“This is the first round of bargaining sessions,” said Armstrong spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson. “There will be more. This is largely non-income issues they are talking about right now.”
Johnson said the bargaining “seems to be going well.”
The Macon plant employs 433 workers -- including 291 hourly production employees. The plant, which makes wet-formed ceiling products, opened in 1948. It was first unionized in 1967, and workers voted in 2004 to join the United Steelworkers.
Union workers at the company’s ceiling plant in Marietta, Pa., have been locked out since July 17, as union officials have rejected company proposals to increase the worker-paid share of health insurance premiums and to offer new workers 401(k) retirement plans rather than pensions.
Armstrong has successfully bargained contracts this year for two of its plants, Johnson said.
“We’re hopeful that we can get a contract ratified in the near future here,” she said.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.