Local Union Vows to help Whirlpool Workers

Local Union Vows to help Whirlpool Workers
By: Arnold Wyrick
Herrin, IL - As the shock waves of Whirlpool's announcement to shut down operations at the old Maytag plant in Herrin, Illinois continue to ripple across the region, the employees union is speaking out about the closing.
"You really get the feeling that, that was the very end they sought from the beginning. That they bought us out with no real intentions of using us as a producer. But rather as buying our market share," says Gary Jarvis President of the International Aerospace and Machinist Local Lodge #554.
Just one day after learning that 1,000 workers at the production facility would be losing their jobs at the end of the year, the union must now negotiate their severance packages.
"Within the nest 30 days we will enter into effects bargaining to negotiate all severance and benefits for our members. Obviously what we would bring to the table is a full benefit and severance package. Unfortunately everything is subject to negotiations," says Steve Jones Directing Business Representative District 111 IAM & AW.
But all may not be lost for these soon to be displaced workers. The states Ready Response Team at Mantra Con in Marion, IL is already working to ensure they'll have a chance at a brighter future.
"We pay for all books, tuition and fees. They also get support services which include transportation, childcare, equipment, and uniforms. All that's paid for as well," says Jamie Galli Ready Response TAA Administrator.
The workers at the old Maytag plant have already paid for Mantra Cons services through their federal tax dollars. Now all they'll have to do is tap into what's available to them.
"There's a lot of possibilities. And I know it's really scary for the workers at this time. But it could end up being a good thing in the end," Galli said.
The workers don't want to jump ship too soon, because it could cost them more to do so.
"I would recommend that all employees continue to stay the course to find out what is available to them. Because it is true most effects bargaining is contingent upon your continuing your employment, until the end to receive your severance package," Jones said.