Union says Europtec lockout could cost the company hundreds of thousands

A USW representative discusses the lockout situation's status.
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WDTV)- This is the eleventh week almost 30 United Steelworkers Union members at the Clarksburg glass processing plant Europtec USA are without insurance and with picketing signs. Now the union has determined the alleged illegal lockout could cost the company more than $200,000 in back pay so far. That's because last month the National Labor Relations Board said the company broke federal labor laws when they locked out the workers.

"I don't know how he can afford it. The longer he has us out the more he's gonna pay us," said Keith Knotts, Vice President of the USW Local 567.

Knotts isn't the only worker who questions why the company hasn't budged in their negotiations for a "fair" contract, but he isn't surprised either.

"These guys, like a couple of them standing out here, have been [here] 30 years," Knotts continued. "Last contract they gave them two extra days of vacation. This contract they wanna take them two plus three more away from them."

Costlier health insurance is a big one on the list of what they say is wrong with the new contract. So is having long-time employees take a test with consequences if their score isn't high enough.

"[I] don't have any insurance right now," said USW Local 567 President Bill Curry. "You just can't go out and do everything you want to do while you was working, making the money you were making."

Officials at Europtec didn't want to comment for this story. However last month they released a statement to 5 News saying they would prefer to move forward with the Union, but the way things now stand believe operating without it is their best option for servicing customers. See the full statement in the link to the previous story.

Until they are able to operate together, union members say they won't stand down.

"For every day that they're not working not only is it affecting their ability to be able to provide for their family but it is also money that's not going back into the community," said USW Representative Heather Anderson.

"We're gonna fight them until the end," added Knotts.

Negotiations begin again October 5. Learn more about why workers say the contract isn't fair in the interview above.