Mueller, union employees enter 90-day negotiation period

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

Unionized employees are currently in a contract disagreement with Mueller Copper Tube of Fulton.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 8420, a labor union representing more than 260 employees of Mueller Copper Tube, have rejected the company’s proposed collective bargaining agreement — essentially the contract between employees and employer that dictate things like wage scales, working hours, health insurance and employee safety.

The previous agreement, which expired Aug. 1, has been extended for 90 days in order to give the two groups time to negotiate a new agreement. Before that 90 day period ends, members of the trade union must vote again to determine if they accept the new collective bargaining agreement.

According to Ricky Loden, president of USW Local 8420, the group rejected the proposal via a vote last Monday. He could not comment on the margin of the vote and declined to comment on the reasoning behind the rejection.

The consequences of their rejection of a second collective bargaining agreement are still up in the air. Loden said it could be as simple as another extension and negotiation period, or as drastic as an employee strike.

“There are a lot of different possibilities,” he said. “At this point, we really don’t know.”

Calls to Mueller’s corporate office were not returned.

adam.armour@journalinc.com