Union employees that have been locked out of the Roquett America corn milling plant in Keokuk spoke to the Economic Development Board in Des Moines today. Steve Underwood is president of the Bakers, Confectioners, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 48-G.
Underwood says they presented petitions from southeast Iowa and around the state from “residents, concerned taxpayers and locked employees” over some of the tax benefits and incentive assistance that Roquett has received over the years, and a new incentive plan the company has applied for.
Underwood says 240 production workers were locked out of the plant on September 28th after they rejected the company’s “final” offer for a contract. He says they want state officials to be aware of the situation. Underwood says they want the economic board to do a thorough review of the company’s current application and be sure that they are in compliance with the their current economic program.
Underdwood was happy with the response from the board. “They seem receptive, and of course thanked us for the information, so it was encouraging,” Underwood said. Underwood says the union was not happy with the contract proposal in part because it would cut pay by four dollars an hour and impose unpredictable shift and schedule changes that would make it difficult for workers.
Underwood says the plant has been running with supervisors and workers from a replacement firm in Ohio since the lockout.