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ASTRO SHAPES Sides unite, win an award



Published: Wed, January 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



An InfoCision executive was named Professional of the Year.

LIBERTY -- It took nearly a year to mend the fences between United Steelworkers Local 9401 and Astro Shapes Inc. after a five-week work stoppage in 2003.

However, both sides put their differences aside and concentrated on how they could work together for their common goal of securing their customer base.

For those efforts, the Western Reserve Chapter of the Society of Human Resources honored the Steelworkers and the management at Astro Shapes by naming them recipients of the society's first Labor/Management Partnership Award on Tuesday during a dinner at the Quality Inn.

Company and union officials say the work stoppage, the only one in Astro Shapes' 33-year history, resulted in a loss of business from its customer base.

Understanding this reality, Tony Sevi and Lloyd Fussnecke, president and vice president, respectively, of USWA Local 9401, met with management to discuss ways to win back customers and secure the jobs of the 400 workers.

Union and management not only opened the lines of communication, but came to an agreement on a number of outstanding issues and ratified a three-year extension of their recently passed four-year agreement, meaning that there would be labor peace into 2010.

Sevi said they are grateful the efforts paid off: "We're getting more accounts because of the stability of the company. It shows that when you have good people on both sides, anything can happen."

Frank Rich, speaking on behalf of owners Bob Cene Jr., Paul Cene and Jim DiBaccio, said progress on the issues required trust from both sides.

"These accomplishments also came about through communication, education and the constant reminder that we needed each other," Rich said.

In a statement issued by Astro Shapes, the company said of the agreement: "It is proof that labor and management can work together effectively to achieve common goals and create a work environment where employees are proud to come to work and produce a quality product. The efforts of the entire employee base were necessary to achieve this level of labor peace."

Professional of Year

Also during the annual dinner, Silvia Hauber, human resources director for InfoCision Management Corp., was named Human Resources Professional of the Year.

With just over 12 years of experience in the field, she is responsible for overseeing all the human resources department functions at the telemarketing company.

Among her accomplishments, Hauber has hired many of the highest-level executives at the company, created a peer review system and implemented personnel coordinator training programs in every call center.

She was nominated by Steve Brubaker, the corporation's senior vice president of corporate affairs.




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