SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Union workers at Shreveport's Libbey Glass plant have overwhelmingly rejected the company's latest contract offer.
Thursday's vote was the third time the Local United Steel Workers Union have turned the employer down since the most recent contract expired in mid-December. It has since been extended twice since then as negotiations continued.
More than 300 union workers voted on whether to accept the contract throughout the day on Thursday. The details of the terms have not been released to the media, but union leaders have indicated that the pay offered by the company has been a major sticking point.
"If it's voted down big again, they're going to have to do something to try to meet us halfway," union Vice President Keith Roeten said on Sunday before the vote. "They need to do more than what they're doing."
Roeten pointed out the company's latest financial reports show record-breaking earnings, and the membership is well aware of the millions of dollars in salary, compensation and stock options company executives enjoy.
According to their latest earnings report, Libbey, Inc. says they had $216 million in sales for the third quarter, compared to $204.4 million for the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent. Libbey called it the "highest third quarter sales Company history," and says they expect "similar top-line growth for the fourth quarter."
Roeten also points out that workers at the company's Toledo, OH plant are doing the same job for $2 to 6 more dollars per hour, depending on their skill.
According to Local USW 711T Chief Steward Michael Kimble, 33 union workers accepted the offer, but 270 union workers rejected it.
With the latest vote a resounding answer no, Kimble says it's "back to the table."
"All we are asking is just for a fair share for our people," Kimble says. "That's all we're looking for."
No date has been set for a new round of negotiations.
Libbey Glass is one of the biggest glass manufacturers in the world.
With some 427 workers, it is one of the largest employers in Shreveport. Most, but not all, are union members.