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United Auto Workers Local 442
UAW Local 442
"There's rumors going around that we're getting our health insurance paid for for a year and that's not the case," said Paul Eriksen, president of United Auto Workers Local 442.
"And there's rumors that we're getting a thousand dollars per year of service - and I've heard $2,000 per year of service, and that's not the case. I won't go into what the final closing agreement is - that's between us and the company - but there's a lot of rumors out there." Eriksen said every worker about to lose his or her job will get some severance. Eriksen is irked by the criticism he's heard regarding what is being done to help the soon-to-be-unemployed. Apparently, some people don't think those workers should be able to go back to school at the expense of a federally funded program, Trade Adjustment Assistance. "These people are losing their jobs," said Eriksen, clearly frustrated with contrarians. "A lot of them have given their lives to the company. There's people who have been there 20, 30, 40 years - some more than 40. "I envision a lot of hugs and a lot of tears," said Eriksen.
According to information provided by Paul Eriksen, president of the Electrolux employees' union, UAW Local 442, some workers spend more than one hour a day commuting one way to the Webster City factory.Eriksen said union members who work at Electrolux cite residences in 21 counties that stretch from Black Hawk County in the east to Buena Vista and Carroll counties in the west.Employees also come north from Polk and Jasper counties and south from Kossuth County.Bracing for the futureEriksen said news of the coming layoffs wasn't completely unexpected.‘‘I always knew it was a possibility, but it was still a surprise when it happened," said Eriksen, who learned of the layoffs during an early morning meeting between union leadership and company officials Feb. 14. ‘‘We've always been faced with the possibility that Electrolux might pull out of town.We were told the decision was final and irreversible."Eriksen said right now he and other UAW Local 442 officials are working on getting information out to Electrolux employees.‘‘I'm doing a lot of research right now to find out how we can help people who are laid off," said Eriksen, who has already met with some employees who are concerned about their options.Some of those options could include federal money that would help laid-off workers go back to school for retraining.Eriksen said he's currently looking into applying for Trade Adjustment Assistance, which is available under the U.S. Trade Act.Eriksen said he's also been in contact with the Hamilton County Iowa State University Extension office, which is offering to provide classes that could help laid-off workers cope with the stress of unemployment.
''Most people knew it was coming,'' said Paul Eriksen, president of United Auto Workers Local 442, which represents Electrolux workers.
He said next week will be the last week that one model of front loading washer will be made in Webster City. Including the layoffs announced Friday, some 506 Electrolux employees have lost their jobs since November 2008. The impact of all those layoffs is becoming apparent, according to Eriksen. He said it's obvious that there's less activity in the plant. He added that there are noticeably fewer vehicles in the parking lots.
Efforts to contact Paul Eriksen, president of United Auto Workers Local 442, were unsuccessful.
Paul Eriksen, president of United Auto Workers Local 442, which represents Electrolux employees, said there is a chance the workers will be called back.He also said the layoffs are not related to the company's move to Mexico.Eriksen said Feb. 29 will be the last day of work for the affected employees.Evans and Eriksen both said they didn't know when that reduction will start.Paul Eriksen an the rest of the union staff can't be trusted, the will sell the union brother & sister out, just like they did last contract.