CORINTH • The United Steelworkers said in a Monday release that Mississippi Polymers has locked out more than 100 employees that are members of the USW Local 759L.
According to the Steelworkers union, the local organization has been bargaining with the privately owned company for a new contract.
However, Mississippi Polymers said it did not lock out the United Steelworkers, who they said chose to go on strike at noon on Friday instead. The company said the local posted a message instructing members to check their voicemails and text messages to receive their picket line assignments at that time.
Mississippi Polymers manufactures functional and decorative films, primarily vinyl and polyolefins used in many products for pressure-sensitive adhesive coaters, as well as furniture upholstery, die cutting, heat seating, slitting and wall covering applications. The plant first opened in 1961.
“Our members are ready and willing to keep working while we continue bargaining a fair deal,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo. “It’s appalling that the company is willing to take this drastic step and keep workers off the job instead of working in good faith to resolve our outstanding differences.”
The local said the company last Friday refused to allow workers on the job after workers voted down a proposal that would have made “unreasonable changes” to their health insurance and reduced their job security. The lockout began at midnight Friday.
Mississippi Polymers said, “The agreement with the United Steelworkers expired at midnight Central Time on June 4, 2021,” the company said. “Each member of the bargaining unit will be paid by the company through expiration in accordance with the agreement.”
Flippo said that the union members and their families “deserve a contract that reflects their dedication and commitment. We are willing to keep working until we reach that agreement, but the company must end this illegal lock out.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, as well as some workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.