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WILSON RENEGES ON COMMITMENT, SEEKS $11 MILLION IN CONCESSIONS AS STRIKE DEADLINE NEARS, UFCW SAYS

WILSON RENEGES ON COMMITMENT, SEEKS $11 MILLION IN CONCESSIONS AS
 STRIKE DEADLINE NEARS, UFCW SAYS
 CHICAGO, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Negotiators for Wilson Foods and the union representing more than 2,000 workers in four plants will meet here beginning April 27 in an effort to reach a new contract before a May 1 strike deadline, but union officials say the negotiations have been complicated by Wilson reneging on a commitment made during Chapter 11 proceedings not to seek concessions.
 "When Wilson put its demands for $11 million in new concessions on the negotiating table, they infuriated our members who have sacrificed repeatedly to save this company," said Phillip L. Immesote, vice president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, who is the chief negotiator for four UFCW local unions.
 The plants represented in the negotiations include: Local 179, Cherokee, Iowa; Local 280, Logansport, Ind.; Local 442, Atlanta; and Local 1200, Oklahoma City.
 "The UFCW will be ready, willing and able to negotiate, but the instructions of our members are clear: No backward steps," Immesote emphasized.
 "The Wilson workers didn't receive one dime of the millions of dollars that were squandered in the various high-finance deals that pushed Wilson into bankruptcy," Immesote continued.
 "It is more than unfair for Wilson to demand that those who have sacrificed the most and received the least must once again bear the burden of saving the company," he added. "Taking another $4.20 an hour out of the pockets of Wilson workers is totally unjustified and inequitable."
 When Wilson was seeking the approval of the Bankruptcy Court for its reorganization plan, he noted, the company presented statements and documents indicating it could maintain the contract and meet its other commitments.
 "Wilson's concessionary demands call into question the integrity of its entire financial plan for the future," Immesote added, "and unnecessarily complicate negotiations. The overwhelming strike vote is a demonstration of the mood of the Wilson workers, and the Wilson negotiators would be wise to understand how much these demands have embittered their employees."
 According to UFCW, Wilson is demanding reductions in premium pay for the sixth consecutive day of work and holidays, two fewer holidays, a lower starting rate, and major restrictions in the weekly guarantee of hours, in addition to cutbacks in health insurance for both active and retired workers, a waiting period for sick leave, and elimination of future payments, and virtual elimination of the pension plan, and severance benefits for a great number of workers. The base labor rate for Wilson workers is currently $9.10 an hour compared with $10.69 an hour when Wilson first began attacking workers' wages in the early eighties, said UFCW.
 -0- 4/24/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Schmitz of the UFCW, 202-223-3111/ CO: United Food & Commercial Workers; Wilson Foods ST: Illinois IN: SU:


MH-TW -- DC004 -- 2371 04/24/92 10:58 EDT
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Date:Apr 24, 1992
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