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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
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Our Opinion: Mutual respect important at Eramet


With locked-out Eramet workers back on the job this week, we urge employees on both sides of the dispute to put differences aside and treat each other with mutual respect.

That can be a tall order after such a prolonged dispute. Union workers remained on the picket line for several months. Contract offers were voted down twice before an agreement was reached this past weekend.

And even then, workers and their families expressed regret at some of the concessions they were forced to make. They said enough time had passed that they felt compelled to agree to a contract for the sake of their families.

Whatever the reasons, the latest offer was ratified and that’s the move that sent workers back to the job this week.

Company officials acknowledged it will take a little time for everyone to get back to their old routines and it may be hard for some to put hard feelings aside. That’s to be expected, but employees shouldn’t hold a grudge or let disappointments interfere with doing a job safely and doing it well.

Contract negotiations aren’t always easy and it’s a task that’s further complicated when unions decide to strike or outside parties get involved. But Eramet is like other local companies — the workers and management are extended family — they need to rely on those bonds now.

Recently, family members of the workers said this experience brought them closer together. Besides the workers going back on the job, perhaps that’s one of the positives to come from this experience. We hope these close relationships will continue even now that the workers have returned to work.

A labor dispute isn’t easy on the company involved, but it takes a toll on the community, too. Neighbors, friends and families may take sides. A lack of income for workers means less money being spent in the community. There may be an increase in the need for social services for the families involved the longer the dispute drags on.

Seeing the workers return to their jobs was a relief for those involved and for those watching from the sidelines. We hope this experience doesn’t splinter relationships within the company and instead leads to stronger bonds in the months and years ahead.

 

 

 






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