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Steelworkers on strike at Rotek in Aurora

By Tim Troglen | Hudson Hub-Times Published: January 19, 2013 4:00 AM
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Update: Rotek in Aurora to replace striking employees if they don't return to work

About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek, Inc. in Aurora went on strike Friday, according to a company spokeswoman.

"Members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 at the Aurora facility have elected to strike beginning Jan. 18," according to Rotek's Kellie Harris. "Product shipments will continue on schedule as the company continues discussions with union representatives."

However, Bill Hyslop, president of Local 8565, said Friday, "We are not on strike, we were forced out."

Contract negotiations were declared at an "impasse" by the company and instead of taking a forced concessionary contract which includes a 20 percent to 30 percent pay cut, the membership walked out, Hyslop said.

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The contract expired Nov. 1 and the sides have been negotiating since October, he said.

"We offered to continue negotiating under the current contract and take a (salary) freeze," he said.

The company is not planning to bring in "new labor" to meet "commitments to our customers," Harris said.

"We are disappointed that approximately 120 members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 have elected to conduct a strike," Harris said.

Rotek Inc. employs 300 people. Located at 1400 S. Chillicothe Road, it is a manufacturer of machine elements called slewing bearings, according to the company's website.

"We look forward to resuming normal operations as soon as possible," Harris added. "Rotek has a business continuation plan in place to meet our commitment to our customers -- this is a matter of responsible management."

On Jan. 13, 11 employees were sent home because of what a company representative called a "miscommunication" with a new security firm.

However, some employees claimed it was a "lockout."

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9400 ext. 4183 or ttroglen@recordpub.com

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anonymous Feb 24, 2013 1:38 AM

Bosses beware when we're screwed, we multiply

anonymous Feb 24, 2013 1:36 AM

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.Thomas Jefferson

anonymous Jan 29, 2013 9:55 PM

I have watched my husband work in temperatures most of us would not be able to withstand in the summer. I have watched my husband work at times 30 days without a day off. He went to work day after day without complaint in extreme conditions and dangerous conditions, considering the equipment they work with and produce.He was thankful for a job and complained little even though the drive alone to Rotek was an hour one way. So understand why I say I am offended by the people on here that do not understand. These guys didnt ask for anything additional they just wanted to maintain what they already have. Healthcare and paycuts and loss of retirement is a big kick in the gut to the guys that planned on commiting to rotek to retirement. These guys are NOT whiners or spoiled union workers, most of them are hardwroking blue collar guys trying to keep their houses out of foreclosure and stay a step above the declining economy. They have paid in blood (sometimes literally) sweat and sacrifice to hold onto what they were promised when they committed to Rotek. So before you judge them based on other disputes understand that they want to work, they just dont want to sacrifice everything that brought them to Rotek in the first place. I for one am proud of my husband and his union brothers and hope that they stick together and weather the storm win or lose because this strike is why unions were invented in the first place.

anonymous Jan 24, 2013 10:42 PM

All I know is I just started here and I have to do everything!! My only hope is for a union shop.

anonymous Jan 22, 2013 12:39 PM


anonymous Jan 21, 2013 11:02 AM

I've worked at this company many years until recently. And I am appalled by the way these workers have been treated. There are some very highly skilled machinists that I worked with. These workers have earned their wages through their own "Blood, sweat, and tears". They have made sacrifices, being away from their families while they worked 28 out of 30 days a month mandatory. This is the thanks they get for their efforts. In the bearing plant they have people in management positions that couldn't even pass the entry level machinist exam. These workers need to stay strong until the wind energy market revitalizes due to the ext. of the energy bill. It will only be a matter of time before this happens, when it does Rotek better make sure they are ready for the "mad rush". Stay strong steelworkers, time is on the company's side right now but it won't be for long. Soon you will have this company by the gonads !!!!

anonymous Jan 21, 2013 10:02 AM

"Are you ****** b/c they make more money than you? Or that your job just sucks?" -- We have a winner!

anonymous Jan 21, 2013 9:59 AM

Nowhinning what's with that screen name? "They protect the lazy and drug addicts""Typical union mentality" sounds like whining to me you big baby. I agree with TheWife 100%. Nowhinning I don't believe a thing you posted, you just wanted to come on here and be a whiner!

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 10:16 PM

Top jimmy is dead on! I to was a union employee, for years! They protect the lazy and drug addicts. I too took my education I got from the company and got a great management job. I am paid on merit and not bargained for as a group. My dear folk lose their jobs daily with no news paper articles to support their plight! Typical union mentality that THEY are the only ones whom work for a living. Good luck rotex maybe you guys would look in the want ads and see what the rest of us compete against

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 9:29 PM

Hello there everyone, as a former employee there till they had the large lay off the end of September.. I asked to be laid off early.. I wasn't looking at the call back, I was looking at the job market, and what was happening in there.. I had 1 fellow union member harrasing me just weeks before the lay off.. He was making threats and alligations to the supervisor. Well the Supervisor did nothing but try to pressure me and claim I was doing stuff to be slow in productivity. I was in line with what I was doing, but he continued these tactics, and even threaten to fire me.. In some way's it would have been better.. I never took it to higher ups, being I was being forced out in a short time. I figured the tow motor drive would get his own.. yeah Joe, I know it was you, you Rat, As far as the rest of the guys, and ladies there I hope you do resolve the issues there, and are able to get back to work.. but sadly the mentality of that place, the managers there Senior, and mid level suck..My direct managers were fairly decent in helping keeping us productive. But to be honest Dr. Tim who took over the senior management there is gonna sink the place fast. They seem **** bent of staying in one market. Where they could diversify with the new section of the building, and the old combined can really open up possibilities.. so now I work next door to one of the companies they did work for. But you know if I was the one of my fellow members there.. I would shop for another job, the mentality, and attitude as we sat in the lay off meetings was horibble. We say the managers turn and look away from us in meeting about the lay offs stand there, laugh, look away. The professionalism was sad. For a billion dollar corporation to let a place's managers to let it sink this low productivity is sad. Theres alot of great talent wasted there, free time on the machines as they sit there sleep. Best of luck to everyone who makes it there.. So maybe my new neighbor Horseburg & Scott can get some machines on the cheap as they probably gut and sell off the company. Sad to say it that way, by as my other former employer who just closed the 100 year old Cleveland Pneumatic (Goodrich Corp). There was about 250 people also out of a job, But best of luck to all them guys, I hope the guys walking the Picket line stay warm

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 5:34 PM


You sir are what's wrong with america.. people like you!! My husband works there 5-7 days a week and yes, makes good money.. however, I'd bet his and my paycheck that your not smart enough to go do what he does.... you probably couldnt pass the test to get it by the way. They get get paid well for doing things the average "joe" cant do! Just so were clear. Unions protect the employees! So while your working for, and happy with an 11.00 dollar an hour job.... and custom to having nothing.... we'll fight for what we're acustom to. but my biggest question/concern for all the haters out there is......... Are you ****** b/c they make more money than you? Or that your job just sucks? I'm not sure which one it is, but would like to know. My husband works his butt off along with the other 120 + men there and they deserve to keep what they have and lose half of everything. They do work and earn benefits and raises on thier own merit... upper management just gets them... They're bonus checks are more than thier reg. 40 hour checks... explain that....

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 4:23 PM

Quit whining Topjimmy? Am I missing something? My take on this story is the workers are on strike, that is taking action where I come from. Whining is what the republicans are doing and have been doing for the past 4 years. No action, just whining. There is a BIG difference buddy.

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 2:41 PM

Unions are what is wrong with America. They should try getting work out there in the "real world"! They protect the worst of workforce. I'm sure you're not getting the whole story of negotiations. I worked for LTV Steel for 13 years. I would never work for a union again. Take your skill and get raises and benefits on you're own merit and quit whining about upper management making theirs! The old tired union play book! You make 50k sweeping floors and complaining how the man is screwing you!

anonymous Jan 20, 2013 12:02 AM

DoWhatsRight instead of laying off workers and raising their prices, I suggest management stop giving themselves bonuses and consistent wage increases. Maybe even offer some profit sharing incentives to the workers. Do you have a problem with that?

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 5:47 PM

It is so easy for people who are not Union and have no idea what it is like to have to negotiate, to make idiotic comments. Ask yourself this question, why would you agree to a pay cut, higher medical when the upper heads dont have a cut? Upper management continues to earn their wages along with bonuses. This is a company that made millions and millions last year, but they are hurting? NO, its select individuals that think they know how to run a company. It will be interesting to see what Corporate thinks of this situation. It wont be hidden under the carpet for long. What was presented to the union workers was almost an insult. If these workers do not stand up for what is right, who will? Hopefully they see that these guys are not messing around and want to negotiate what is fair!

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 3:04 PM

Well any pay increase and or benefits will cost the company. That means they will have to offset the cost either by laying off some of the workers or raise the price of their products. If they raise the price of their products there customers will look elsewhere to buy the products. Fewer orders mean less employees needed. So, it is not an easy answer. I know for a fact that the company can replace every one of these striking employees with those willing to work for less. I also know that a worker has to make a living wage. Every worker that gets a raise or increase in benefits causes this very same problem to other companies. Say xyc gives a raise. They have to raise the price of their product. Those buying the product have to use more of their wages to buy the product; thereby lowering their standard of living. They then seek a wage increase from their employer and the whole thing starts over again. You get a 3% raise and the gas company gives a 3% raise and the electric company gives a 3% raise, and the water company gives a 3% raise. This means that you have already lost your 3% raise just to pay the water or the electric company. That is why you are paying $30,000 for a $10,000 car.

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 2:34 PM

I can understand taking cuts if the company is having a hard time; however, this company is not. Their business has been booming. The 180 non-union workers at this company will most certainly recieve the benifits that these union workers are fighting for and have fought for in the past. It is like that at my company, the non-union have the same pay, health benefits, vacation, sick time etc. that I have and I pay union dues. That I do not believe is fair since I had to fight tooth and nail to get what I have. The "fat cats" will certainly continue to live in their big homes, collect their big pay checks and drive their big gas guzzlers. The union members will try to hang on to their small homes and hope their ten year old car makes it to work. I guess I am tired of hearing about all the cuts others have made at their non-union job and the union workers should make cuts, why? It isn't necessary this company is making money hand over fist. People that hate the unions I believe are just jealous because they can't fight for what is right at their job. But please remember a lot of what you have is because of a union. Good luck to the Rotek Union Workers!!

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 12:19 PM

As a father-in-law of one of the guys, I can see that all the concerns of the workers are not being reported. If this is a "Strike" and not a "Lockout", why were the Sunday night guys unable to get into the factory and why do the pictures predominately show concerns about Healthcare benefits as well as pay cuts? This seems to be a copy of the previous contract problems by a dictatorial company. Check: http://www.recordpub.com/news%20local/2004/12/04/strike-at-rotek-inc-may-end

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 11:05 AM

I think if I were employed there I would be looking at the number of qualified and quite capable subcontractors Rotek uses on a regular basis. Most of which I'll bet work for a fraction of what it costs to do the work in house. Just a hunch but if the company says it has a contingency plan in place to meet their commitments, they most likely do....... An awful lot of people have taken cuts over that past several years to one degree or another.Some more than what you are saying. It sucks but in this economy a reduction can be better than the alternative. The number of auction flyers I get every week for machine shops which went under has slowed from what it had been but I'm still seeing an awful lot more of them than I would like to. I hope the 2 parties can work this out soon and get everyone there back to work. Don't eat too many Twinkies while your waiting.

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 10:59 AM

Remember the Hostess bakers union. No Twinkees, and NO JOBS. The fat cats closed the doors. Google local 41 MESA AFL-CIO (600 union workers)SK Wellman Corp. Bedford, Ohio fat cats closed the doors, and bulldozed the building. Good luck union workers. Stick up for yourselves, but don't cry when Rotex says good-bye and you go from the picket line to the unemployment line. The fat cats will have a job, and your union heads will have a job, but you wont. I worked for SK Wellman as a union worker and a union steward. P.S. You need to change union leadership. Nobody in there right mind goes on strike in the middle of winter!!!

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 9:54 AM

This is what Unions are supposed to do. You both agree to a contract, you do what you're asked to do and at negotiating time... you negotiate.

There are only 120 striking of the 300. If things go the 120 strikers' way, do the other 180 reap the benefits too?

Stand up for your unions People. Unions are what help increase minimum wage jobs. Unions give people a decent life: a modest home, food, and you can pay your bills. I'm kind of embarrassed for the 180 IF they are union members.

Good job to the Strikers and their families. I hope a negotiation is reached soon and all jobs are safe.

anonymous Jan 19, 2013 9:22 AM

So, First of all.... The guy filming a truck coming through the gates is a COMPLETE joke! 2nd.... THAT'S THE POINT OF WHAT'S HAPPENING.... the guys are suppose to stand up for what they believe, the trucks should also be in a union and should know better for crossing the line!! Shame on you!! Rotek has offered the worst contract ever this year!! They will lose thousands of dollars, thier great insurance, and tons of perks that go with the job. When you give give give, and get nothing in return, this is what you get! 120+ men standing outside telling you how big of a douche bag you are! Sorry, thats just what it is. As for me, I'm a PROUD wife of a one of thoes union men, and I'll stick by him and his friends till the end! Go Get Em Boys!!! 8565