Hourly workers approved a severance agreement with Swedish appliance maker Electrolux, which is shutting down its Greenville, MI, U.S.-based refrigerator factory, a union official said.
Union members voted to approve the severance agreement by a 1,283 to 89 margin, Jim Hoisington, president of UAW Local 137, said. It will provide workers with severance pay of U.S. $400 for every year of service, twice the amount that had been written into their existing contract.
The agreement also will pay nearly 75 percent of a full pension to workers who have 10 years of service but have not turned 55 by the time the plant closes, Mr. Hoisington said. The existing contract offered less than 50 percent of a full pension, he said.
The agreement includes transition assistance for employees losing their jobs. But, Hoisington said, "There's not a lot of work in the area. There's some, but it doesn't have the salary and benefits" provided by Electrolux.
The Electrolux plant has 2,700 employees and manufactures 1.6 million refrigerators annually under such brands as Frigidaire, Kenmore, White-Westinghouse, Gibson, and Kelvinator.
Electrolux announced Jan. 16, 2004 that it was closing the factory by November 2005 and moving production to factories in Juarez, Mexico, and Anderson, S.C.
The average hourly wage for Electrolux workers is $15 an hour, he said. The Associated Press previously reported the company could pay Mexican workers as little as $1.57 an hour. (Detroit Free Press)
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