Unionized employees of a Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois have reached a decision regarding strike-authorization, but won’t offer any comments on the matter until August 28, their contract deadline [ah, very resourceful union workers, very resourceful indeed]. Although downplayed as a “standard procedure of contract negotiation”, the Illinois plant’s future is looking grim.
Mitsubishi has been floundering on a slippery slope since it first met American soil back in 1988, and today’s economy is certainly not helping their plight. Built with the capacity to employ 3,000 workers and produce 240,000 cars, the plant currently employs 1,366 workers and has an expected production output of about 68,000 for 2008. In 2006, the union agreed to reduce the hourly wage by $4 an hour, and in 2007 Mitsubishi began offering voluntary buy-outs to reduce the number of employees.
The union, UAW Local 2488, has authorized strikes in the past – most recently a one-day strike in 2001. Tight-lipped, none of the parties involved will offer a hint as to which direction the decision is heading. According to an official statement that tastefully skirted the meat of the issue, “Our mutual goal is to achieve an agreement that is in the best interests of members of UAW Local 2488 and their families; Mitsubishi Motors North America, and our community.”