KITCHENER, Ontario (July 2)—It's been more than a year on the picket line and the company's longtime CEO and president is gone, but little has changed in the ongoing labor dispute between RMS Equipment Co. and United Steelworkers Local 80. The 67-member local went on strike at the tire and rubber equipment builder's Kitchener plant on May 14, 2001, primarily over wages, pension and contract language concerns. The union membersùwho made an average of $13.80 to $14.40 per hourùoverwhelmingly turned down a package that would have given them a $2.50 raise over three years of the new contract. But afterward the situation deteriorated even further. RMS, feeling the economic pressure, began outsourcing much of its business and reversed its previous proposal by demanding $2-3 per hour concessions from the union. No meaningful negotiations have been held since last fall. Of the original strikers, 55 are left, with several opting to leave permanently or retire, said Local 80 President Peter Cook.
No end in sight for strike at RMS plant
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