Freightliner Workers Reject UAW Offer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ In preliminary results Wednesday night, workers at Freightliner LLC’s Gastonia truck parts plant rejected an offer to join the United Auto Workers union by 24 votes.
With 710 workers voting by secret ballot, the final tally was 346 votes against the union and 322 votes in favor.
The results didn’t include 42 votes that were challenged by either the union or the company, or by both sides. That means a tally of the contested votes could change the final outcome, union and company officials said.
``It’s still up in the air,″ said Brent Marr, president of UAW Local 5285, which represents 850 Freightliner workers at the nearby Mount Holly plant.
Agents with the National Labor Relations Board, who conducted the vote count, said it could be at least a week to 10 days before the final outcome was known. A statement from Freightliner said the process could take weeks.
``Right now, it’s a difference of 24 votes,″ Marr said. ``That means they (Freightliner) will need to get 25 more votes (out of the 42 contested votes) to win it.″
The Freightliner statement called the election ``undecided.″
``Since the number of challenged ballots may determine the ultimate outcome of the election, the NLRB will initiate its procedures to resolve whether each challenged vote should be counted or not counted,″ the company said. ``Only then will the final election results be known.″
After the early totals were released, UAW officials accused the company of heavy-handed tactics in the final days of the campaign.
The union said Freightliner chief operating officer Roger Nielson compelled workers to attend meetings at the plant, where he threatened them with loss of pay, benefits and jobs if the union were to be voted in.
Freightliner spokesman Chris Brandt declined to comment on the union’s allegations.
Workers at Freightliner’s Mount Holly, N.C., voted for union representation in 1990.
The Gastonia plant, which opened in 1978, makes truck parts for Freightliner’s assembly plants in Mount Holly and in Cleveland, N.C., and for its regional parts distribution centers. Parts include components used in truck cabs and chassis.
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