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Union workers' rejection leaves Monaca plant in uncertainty

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Monday, July 14, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
 

Union workers at Anchor Hocking's glassware plant in Monaca again rejected concessions from the company's parent, leaving the fate of the plant and 450 jobs in limbo as a deadline nears for a plan to keep creditors at bay.

The United Steelworkers members narrowly rejected the latest proposal from EveryWare Global Inc. on Sunday, a union official said. It was the second time this month that Monaca plant workers turned down a proposal aimed at reducing the company's operating costs.

EveryWare Global has a Tuesday deadline from its lenders to devise a solution to address financial issues that have put it at risk of violating the terms of a seven-year, $250 million loan. The lenders had extended the deadline by two weeks.

United Steelworkers spokesman Wayne Ranick said the company made some changes to a proposal the Monaca workers rejected before the July Fourth holiday, but he wasn't sure of the specifics. Employees at a Lancaster, Ohio, plant, which has about 1,100 workers, accepted concessions.

EveryWare spokeswoman Erica Bartsch declined to comment. Ranick said he did not know the status of the company's negotiations with lenders. “I'm not in a position to speculate,” he said.

In March, EveryWare Global said it was in danger of not being able to comply with the terms of its loan. The company struck temporary deals with lenders that allowed it to stay in business but has failed to reach a long-term financing solution.

The company warned in a regulatory filing in June that it may shut down its plants in Lancaster and Monaca, and a Georgia distribution center if it couldn't reach a deal with lenders and couldn't shore up its finances. The company posted a $38.4 million loss in the first quarter.

The Monaca workers' vote and the company's financial struggles leave the fate of Anchor Hocking's presence in Monaca uncertain. The Monaca plant and its sister facility in Lancaster were partially closed in May as the company furloughed workers to conserve cash.

The Monaca plant, meanwhile, has been shuttered since the July Fourth holiday, the company said. It was “temporarily closed for planned maintenance,” the company said in a statement last week, but it has yet to reopen, and “no decision has been made with regard to timing for resuming production.”

Chris Fleisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or cfleisher@tribweb.com.

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