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.
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."
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