August 11, 2010 2:29:00 PM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Omnova Solutions Inc. is hiring temporary workers to prepare for a prolonged strike, since the United Steelworkers Local 748-L rejected its last offer two weeks ago.
Omnova officials began interviewing potential workers at the Wingate Inn on Wednesday. The company plans to hire 70 to 80 local temporary workers to replace out-of-town workers bused in as part of the company''s strike contingency plan.
"The strike has been going on now for nearly three months, and we needed to evaluate our options going forward," explained Sandi Noah, communications director for Omnova. "That is one reason we are making the move to local temporary replacements. We need to be prepared for any eventuality, including a prolonged strike by the Union."
Local workers aren''t discouraged by the company''s plans to hire local workers. They still hope to return to work under their previous contract.
"Anytime you''re on strike, both parties are suffering somewhat," said Jay Lawrence, president of the local union, noting the company likely has lost customers since the strike began, May 21. Temporary workers, he said, can''t produce the same quality product as longtime employees.
"They''re not experienced workers," Lawrence said of the temporary employees. "Those machines are very technical. It takes a high level of skill to produce a quality product."
The Columbus plant is Omnova''s primary plant for commercial wall coverings. Functional coated fabrics, a durable plastic upholstery, also are produced at the plant, for the marine and transportation industry.
Keeping the plant open and continuing to serve customers is "the best we can do for the Columbus plant right now," Noah said, noting, "in making this transition, we can bring jobs back into the Columbus area and get the stability that a local workforce can provide."
While the union continues to hold out for a revised contract, Noah maintains Omnova remains "committed to the bargaining process" in hopes of "a competitive contract agreement that will allow our Union employees to return to work."
The union declined to vote on the revised final offer, presented July 29 at the Holiday Inn, and is willing to stay on the picket line.
"Basically, the company''s still wanting all the radical changes they wanted to begin with," Lawrence said. He believes the company was more interested in "feeling out" the potential duration of the strike than negotiating.
The company plans to hire local workers and begin training within the week.
"We have had a number of people in the area indicate an interest since the strike began," Noah said.
Those interested in a temporary job in maintenance or production at Omnova should e-mail inquiries to email@example.com.
"They should not go to the plant or any other local site," Noah added. "We will screen all e-mails and contact applicants we are interested in interviewing."
A revised offer is still on the table for union workers. Neither entities would divulge the details of the old contract nor the final offer, but workers cited seniority rights and shift rights as their primary concerns.
jimmy williams commented at 8/11/2010 5:05:00 PM:
This company doesnt care about the people who have 20,30 and 40 years invested in them.
carol commented at 8/11/2010 5:22:00 PM:
Thats just wrong!What about the 178 families lives that Omnova has totally turned upside down MY FAMILY INCLUDED!THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN LOYAL TO THIS COMPANY!AND OMNOVA WANTS TO TAKE EVERYTHING FROM LOCAL, HARDWORKING,DECENT PEOPLE,WHO HAVE CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN.THEY HAVENT EVEN TRIED TO NEGOTIATE AT ALL!FEDERAL METORATORS PLEASE!WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS ETHICALLY WRONG!!!!!!!THANKS OMNOVA FOR TURNING MY WHOLE FAMILYS LIFE UPSIDE DOWN WHAT A WONDERFUL THING FOR MY CHILDREN TO WITNESS!TRULY HEARTLESS!
ckirby commented at 8/11/2010 5:49:00 PM:
How many company people in the front office are democrats? how many people giving the strikers a hard time are democrats? when are unions going to learn that democrats are not their friends any more than republicans are? At least republicans don't pretend to be.
doj commented at 8/11/2010 6:28:00 PM:
Carol, what is a "metorator"?
td commented at 8/11/2010 7:03:00 PM:
Unions and taxation have jointly ruined the competitive advantage of American Industry.
Get rid of unions and even more importantly - get rid of government interference (and taxation) with the economic engine.
lulu commented at 8/11/2010 8:27:00 PM:
I don't quite understand. The union voted to strike and walk out because they felt they were not being treated fairly. Okay, it appears the company is not going to give them their way (whatever that is) and why are they continuing to make accusations and negative comments, they could just LEAVE. If the company is SO BAD, why did these people stay there all "these years"? Maybe the Union members have not noticed but this country is in a real economic crisis, AGAIN. There are literally multitudes of people who would gladly take these jobs and do a day's work for a day's pay. I don't see the intelligent side of walking off your job, sitting, standing or walking in the hot sun holding a sign. I have passed on the highway and saw some of the strikers. They are sitting on their spine and usually talking all their cells phones. However, they all seem to have a good tan! I guess that will pay their bills and feed their families. Adults are supposed to have priorities in their life and make a way for their family. Stuff happens people and most of us don't get our way all the time. So, let's not act like pouting children and move on with your life! I feel like the union was originally established for a true cause of making sure workers were fairly treated on their jobs, but maybe this union has tried to "take the good out of the middle" and let the rest go. Things have gotten out of hand a bit. Let's be adults now and go to work for the sake of our families and their well-being.
disappointed in support commented at 8/11/2010 9:05:00 PM:
This is all hogwash by the company. They want these men to give up, but you did see TEMPORARY that is because the scabs won't come back.
Let's just go picket in Arkon Ohio again, maybe for weeks at a time. They have already lost alot of customers because they can't produce a product that the customer will accept. Alot of products have been sent back to them. They have spent over 5 million already, I think they are just trying these men. You sure wouldn't want to be local and cross that picket line. Make sure your Life Insurance is paid up because people have got killed in that plant, and they were experienced.
disappointed in support commented at 8/11/2010 9:10:00 PM:
Lulu, these man did not vote to strike, they voted to not accept the company contract presented to them. If you have not read the letter to the editor in the packet concerning this, please read. another local paper refused to print it.
disappointed in support commented at 8/11/2010 9:14:00 PM:
Carol, even the metorator walked out on July 29, tell you anything?
carol commented at 8/11/2010 9:28:00 PM:
Dear doj in reference to your question what is a meteorator? that is a good question for you to ask the so called CEO, of omnova. some meteorator he walked out!! kk bye.
carol commented at 8/11/2010 9:30:00 PM:
lulu you have no idea what your even talking about
blaine1 commented at 8/11/2010 9:34:00 PM:
talked to a guy over the weekend in my store , he is a young man hired on 8 months ago as a temp. works for half the pay and proud just to have a job. he says i am working overtime and loves it . He hopes they stay on strike. thanks
doj commented at 8/11/2010 10:13:00 PM:
@ carol... I think the word is mediator. No such word as meteorator.
To the rest...When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
hope commented at 8/12/2010 5:54:00 AM:
td...Under NAFTA, the garment factories, which were not unionized, were the first to go. Even they could not compete against third world country labor.
On government intervention, without it, we would be in our second great depression.
disappointed in support commented at 8/12/2010 7:55:00 AM:
It is a shame to all southern work forces that there are not enough people with a backbone to check out just what this company is trying to do and stand with them. The south should rise again, and this time against big business, the pay scale is alot higher in the north. But again you are taking what the north want to do to us!!!!!!!! I am really disappointed in the locals, when this gets national then will you say we helped or tuck tail and slid like a snake.
disappointed in support commented at 8/12/2010 7:59:00 AM:
doj Maybe it is time that people stopped letting that happen. Wnat to help or snake away.
doj commented at 8/12/2010 8:32:00 AM:
disappointed in support ... It's a sad situation I know, but I'm not going to let you drag me back into this conversation. I can't change your mindset or solve your problems. You have to do that yourself.
blaine1 commented at 8/12/2010 8:46:00 AM:
could this company close and move operations to china or mexico,I think they have the upper hand, It would be easy for them to pull the plug here in columbus just look around our town, payroll is the biggest expense for a company . This company would save so much money on payroll if they were in the D.R. Thats why factorys close and move there machines out of our country ,cheap labor . i want this factory to stay in my home town and produce jobs for young men and women . also if your going to strike stand up and walk with your sign.good luck onnova workers. just my thoughts thanks
disappointed in support commented at 8/12/2010 9:55:00 AM:
doj: If you are a blue collar worker, all these guys ask is you support them in their fight and not put them down for standing up for themselves and their families.
blaine1: they already have plants in China, they bring those products back here and put MADE IN THE USA on them, how do you feel about that??? Customers have returned these products and demanded their orders be filled and made at the Columbus plant. Just wish the public could know all that has and is going on.
doj commented at 8/12/2010 10:12:00 AM:
disappointed in support... I don't have a dog in this hunt. I have no comment one way or the other. What don't you understznd about that?
hope commented at 8/12/2010 12:04:00 PM:
@blaine1, after getting tax incentives from our government to locate here, and if they should move overseas where labor is much cheaper, I would say they are un-American. Imagine leaving the American worker out in the cold because they can get cheaper labor in the third world countries. If these companies keep doing this and unless our government does not "INTERVENE" to stop it, we also will become a third world country.
i commented at 8/12/2010 2:13:00 PM:
Go to work and be thankful you have a job!
hope commented at 8/12/2010 3:34:00 PM:
td says Unions and taxation has jointly ruined the competitive advantage of American industry. Surely, you would have to agree that slave labor overseas is a disadvantage for the American worker and for America in general.
avatar commented at 8/12/2010 3:40:00 PM:
Ok class...let's review "Capitalism in America". Our system is based on FREE ENTERPRISE. Most private("private" meaning just that or with shareholders..but not government)owned companies are "at will" companies. This means they can hire/fire "at will". Then of course there are the "unions". Unions being headed up by "characters" who want to lead the employees of a company to believe they have their best interest at heart(**snicker**)! So...these "characters" band these people together(..and let's not forget those UNION DUES)and try to FORCE a private company to do as they say. Now, let's review what happens when all these lovely salaries and benefits are paid to these "loyal" employees. All this expense is passed on to the "consumer"(that's you and me)! SO..the next time you are on the car lot of Carl Hogan(or any other dealer)and see that MSRP on the sticker for around $35,000(for a $20,000 automobile), you can thank the "union" and all those "loyal" employees that are knocking down $35-$75 an hour. Bottom line: If you don't like the stinking, no good, unwilling to negotiate company you are working for...then JUST LEAVE!...No one is twisting your arm and FORCING you to work there! BTW...you all REALLY do look silly standing/sitting there on your duff with your signs while there are others in this community who are truly, desperately looking for work.
lulu commented at 8/12/2010 7:53:00 PM:
To Carol: I have a right to my opinion as do you and all these other good people posting comments. The fact you don't agree with me does not make me wrong or right, it's just my opinion. I too have grandchildren and if either of their parents were "on strike" and they were doing without, I would try to persuade them to work - somewhere, anywhere - but feed my grandchildren and buy them clothes. Sometimes, in retrospect, things are not as they seemed initially.
To disappointed in support: When the union members voted down the contract they knew a strike was inevitable. After all, that is what this whole thing was about. However, it possibly backfired on them.
I really can't understand the logic behind this situation. If the union members hate this company so bad and think they are trying to develop unacceptable work conditions/regulations why do they bother to try and force it? I still say they liked SOMETHING about their job or would not have stayed there all these years. Jobs are very hard to find and I cannot comprehend the fact anyone would throw one away. Maybe they could find something better somewhere else (some place where their employer will do EXACTLY what they want - probably not). Human nature reveals that some people cannot be pleased or satisfied with anything no matter what.
td commented at 8/12/2010 8:50:00 PM:
I really hate the term 'slave' labor because it denotes that people are forced to work against their will for zero wages.
The cost of labor in other countries is much less than in the US because of lower tax rates, less government regulation and fewer benefits.
That is why most US businesses/jobs are now "service-based" rather than "manufacturing-based".
hope commented at 8/12/2010 9:45:00 PM:
td....Most of the U.S. business/jobs are service-base instead of mfg.-base, because most of the mfg. jobs have gone overseas, where the average pay is less than 1 buck an hour.
disappointed in support commented at 8/12/2010 10:07:00 PM:
So sorry for all of you!
lcd commented at 8/13/2010 12:15:00 PM:
lulu, you have a right to your opinion, but do you honestly think all of these people would go on strike without a good reason. They are very well aware of what they are doing. They haven't hated their jobs all these years because the conditions weren't what they are now. You can't understand the logic behind this situation because you don't know what the situation is!
disappointed in support commented at 8/13/2010 3:34:00 PM:
LCD: WELL SAID, WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING. Now if more people would just investigate before forming an opinion.
lulu commented at 8/13/2010 7:29:00 PM:
lcd, Then why don't you fill me and the rest of the world in on what the situation is? Yes, I do think they went on strike without a good reason and possibly some of them think so at this point. All the strikers have a very sad look on their face when I see them, wonder if they still think they did the right thing? Why do they want to go back to a company they don't want to work for under whatever the current conditions are? We all have to live and let live. Choices are made every day about something. I truly only know what I have read as does everyone else unless they are a company or union member. I never insinuated I was a well informed professional on this situation. I would like to see all those men go back to work somehow, somewhere if they want to or need to. If only people who knew the exact "situation" commented, this section probably wouldn't be in the paper to start with!
disappointed in support commented at 8/13/2010 9:55:00 PM:
lulu, read the letter to the editor on THE COLUMBUS PACKET website please. About the only thing left out was the freeze of their retirement. Read then comment. wish the dispatch would have ran it.
common sense commented at 8/14/2010 5:07:00 AM:
Listen up guys, 25 year olds can't find a job so who is going to hire a 50-55 year old? Has it occurred to any of you that those that tell you to perservere can retire? Maybe when you are working at McDonalds he'll come in for breakfast and share some more "wisdom" with you.
lcd commented at 8/14/2010 3:44:00 PM:
lulu: Yes, they still believe they did the right thing and I haven't seen a sad look on my brother's face yet! You don't need to be filled in on the situation because it's none of anyone's business except for the Omnova employee's. I'm proud they are standing up to coporate. I don't see any of them willing to take a pay cut.
disappointed in support commented at 8/14/2010 3:45:00 PM:
comment sense: wish you would use some. most 25 year olds only know loud music and video games.
common sense commented at 8/14/2010 5:53:00 PM:
to disappointed in support...How ridiculous to say most 25 year olds only know loud music and video games. I beg to differ cause I see several of them going to work everyday. They are not whining that they have "sacraficed for a company" (Did you guys work for free all those years? And tell us how much did you pay for family health insurance?) Share that with the world and see how sympathetic they are! You guys have had benefits the rest of the world only dreamed of.
lulu commented at 8/14/2010 6:16:00 PM:
lcd, are you saying you're an omnova employee relative, or an omnova employee yourself? You mentioned your brother but then said it was not the business of anyone other than the employees--so---- which is it? Hostility will get you nowhere. This column is here in the Dispatch for public comments. It's not your privilege to tell me it's not my business. However, you are free to be proud any time you choose. How can this endeavor get public support if it's none of the public's business?
scab1 commented at 8/18/2010 9:33:00 PM:
I just want to let all the Omnova employees know that you guys are realy entertaining in the mornings going to work. And one of you guys asked me this morning how it feels to be a "SCAB". Pretty good to tell you the truth. my family hasnt missed a meal. But realy, watching yall look like fools twice a day makes it worth coming to work
1. Planned talent show draws scam concerns COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Flier calling for boycotts further disrupts divisive Southside development issue COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Five candidates emerging for Oktibbeha's circuit clerk race STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
5. Starkville-native and Disney art director speaks at library STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY