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Creighton workers rejects PPG contract extension

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Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008

Union workers at PPG Industries' Creighton auto glass plant on Saturday rejected a 3-year contract extension from the company.

In an e-mailed statement, the company said it was "disappointed" with the vote.

PPG is negotiating to sell the plant, located in East Deer, to the private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC., of Mt. Kisco, N.Y., for $330 million.

A number of United Steel Workers Local 12-G members, who declined to be identified, said after the vote that they were told a Sept. 30 sale closing date has been proposed.

In December, a proposed $500 million sale of the plant and other assets failed and ended with a federal lawsuit.

Local 12-G's leadership on Saturday declined comment about the vote or the possible sale. Union officials would not give a vote tally.

The union represents about 180 PPG Creighton workers.

In the e-mail statement, PPG corporate said it is "disappointed that production and maintenance employees at its Creighton automotive plant have rejected it's final offer for a new labor agreement that would have run through June of 2012.

"Early negotiations with Local 12-G of the United Steelworkers were prompted due to the declining U.S. automotive market that is served by the plant.

"The current labor agreement is set to expire in March of 2009. The new agreement would have been a significant step towards ensuring the economic viability of the facility during this very challenging time for the U.S. automotive industry."

Under the proposal, PPG would retain a 40 percent interest in the plant and the new joint entity, which would be known as Pittsburgh Glass Works, would have a separate headquarters, according to published reports.

Also, the proposed sale would involve PPG selling its auto glass plants in Tipton, Blair County, and Meadville, Crawford County.

PPG employs about 4,400 in nine automotive glass manufacturing plants and related facilities. The plants make original equipment and replacement windows.

It's unclear if PPG will make another offer to the bargaining unit or if the union will offer a counter-proposal.

It's also unclear if the proposal would impact PPG's research and development lab at Harmar.

Local 12-G president Karla Grant, vice president Kent Crytzer and USW District 10 representative James Watt refused on Saturday to comment about the vote or what PPG is proposing.

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