By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
It’s election day across the country, but in East Alton, Ill., it’s time to re-vote.
Two weeks ago, union workers at Olin Corp.’s Winchester Centerfire Manufacturing Operations voted down contract concessions that would have kept 900 jobs.
The vote was viewed by many as paving the way for the jobs to shift to Oxford, which already is home to Winchester’s Rimfire operations. The company said it could save $30 million by moving its Centerfire operations to Oxford.
The concessions, which reportedly included a wage freeze and elimination of 401(k) matching contributions from the company, were voted down by a 2-1 margin on Oct. 18.
But the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 9 represents about 850 of the workers and is asking members to vote again on the package to keep the jobs in East Alton.
“Because of increasing costs and the competitive nature of the ammunition business, we have been carefully assessing the potential relocation of Winchester’s Centerfire operations to another state,” Winchester Human Resources Director Valerie Peters said in a statement released Friday to the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat.
A vote for the concessions would keep the jobs in East Alton for at least seven years, according to the East Alton Telegraph.
Officials from Oxford and the Mississippi Development Authority have declined to say whether they have talked to Olin/Winchester about a potential shift of several hundred jobs to the Magnolia State.
Peters told the News-Democrat that the company expects to make a decision sometime after the vote.
“After the union membership’s rejection of the union proposal, union leaders sought an opportunity to have members vote again on the proposal,” Peters said in her statement. “We will await the outcome of the vote and then make our decision regarding the relocation of Centerfire.”
Some jobs apparently already are headed to Oxford no matter how the union votes today. According to the Telegraph, Olin announced before the Oct. 18 vote that about 125 packing jobs would be relocated to Oxford.