Union vote could send jobs to Oxford

Ammunition maker Olin Corp. may be a step closer to moving hundreds of jobs to Oxford.
On Sunday, workers at Olin’s Winchester operations in East Alton, Ill. rejected giving concessions to the company to keep its Centerfire munitions plant there.
According to the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat, union workers on Sunday voted down by a 2-1 margin a contract that would have guaranteed about 900 jobs would stay in East Alton.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 9 represent about 850 of the workers.
Winchester already has an ammunition plant in Oxford, where it opened in 2005, bringing 150 jobs with its Rimfire operations. The company also moved its military packing operations from East Alton to Oxford two years ago. The plant now employs about 300 workers.
In August, Olin said it might relocate its Centerfire operations to Oxford. A company spokeswoman, Valerie Peters, said at the time any transfer would take five to six years to complete.
On Sunday, Peters told the News-Democrat the company will “announce a final decision shortly.”
“It is extremely unfortunate that the union has voted to reject the proposal,” she told the newspaper. “We will evaluate all options, which one is the potential relocation of the Centerfire operations.”
Max Hipp, president and CEO of the Oxford/Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, could not be reached for comment and would not return until Wednesday, his office said.
A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Development Authority said it is agency policy not to comment on economic development projects.
Marty St. Peters, who represents the union, told the News-Democrat that workers believed the plant is profitable and weren’t convinced concessions were needed.
“I would think that the company will go ahead and move to Mississippi now,” he said.
Olin officials have declined to reveal the details of the contract offer.
In July, Olin reported second-quarter net income of $16.9 million, a 39 percent decline from a year earlier.
The Winchester division recorded $21.1 million in net income, the second best in its history.
Olin will announce its third-quarter results Tuesday.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

DENNIS SEID / NEMS Daily Journal

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