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INDALEX Workers protest attendance policy



Published: Sat, August 21, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Employees say they're working so much that they never see their families.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

GIRARD -- Union employees at Indalex Aluminum Solutions are manning informational pickets outside the South State Street plant to protest changes in the company's attendance policy.

Company officials said production was continuing at the aluminum extrusion facility while small groups of employees represented by United Steelworkers of America Local 4564 picketed outside.

Scott Langdon, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Indalex, said the company recently changed its attendance requirements for hourly employees to hold the line on absenteeism.

Employees are now expected to work up to 13 consecutive days without calling off, if scheduled, he said. Under the old policy they were required to work up to seven consecutive days.

Complaint

Tom Andrews, a 10-year veteran of the Girard plant and the union's recording secretary, said workers feel like management is treating them unfairly. The plant is so busy they're working seven-day weeks, usually more than eight hours a day, he said.

"We have families and we never get to see them," he said. "Now they want to make us work longer. How do we go to the doctor, get the car repaired? It's unfair."

The union hopes its picketing will get management's attention so the two sides can negotiate any changes in the attendance policy.

Staying competitive

Langdon said the Girard plant needs its regular work force on the job to keep up with orders and to be competitive.

The company has the right to hire temporary workers under the union's collective bargaining agreement, he said, but regular employees work more efficiently than temporaries in a manufacturing environment.

"The purpose of the change is to manage the business efficiently," he said. "And keep in mind that if you are working multiple days without a day off, overtime definitely kicks in."

vinarsky@vindy.com




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