Updated: 05/01/2009 12:39pm
(BEDFORD) - Union members at the Evans Limestone shop in Bedford have walked out and are picketing the business until negotiations spark back up.
Dave Luttrell, one of the picketers at the company's 16th Street entrance this morning, told WBIW News the Journeyman Stonecutters and Planermen Union and the company are deadlocked in their negotiations, and a says Evans denied them a 30-day extension.
Luttrell said 11 workers are on strike at the shop out of the around 30, which makes up the entire union workforce at Evans.
Luttrell says the union is also in negotiations with Indiana Limestone and they were granted a 30-day extension, but that didn't happen at Evans.
The key sticking point seems to be, beyond pay, health insurance. Luttrell says their deductibles have gone up significantly in recent times, and the company wasn't willing to talk about that.
Steve Evans, owner of Evans Limestone, and Robert Rodgers, head of the union representing the workers there, have been unavailable for comment so far this morning, but keep watching WBIW.com and listening to WBIW News as we bring you more information on this strike as it becomes available.
Update: 05/01/2009 12:39pm
Robert Rodgers, the chief negotiator with the union, updated WBIW News early this afternoon with what is happening at Evans Limestone.
Rodgers tells WBIW News he asked Steve Evans, the company owner, for a 30-day contract extension in order to bring a federal mediator, however, Rodgers says Evans did not agree to this and the strike was called as the unionized skilled workers at the company no longer had an employment contract.
Rodgers is also leading negotiations with Midland Cut Stone, Architectural Stone Sales and Indiana Limestone and says the first two have already settled on a new contract and Indiana granted the 30-day extension to continue negotiations. Rodgers then says the federal mediator is expected here by Tuesday of next week, and that unless Evans has a change of heart, he doesn't expect any progress to be made until at least then.
Rodgers confirmed that health insurance costs is the major hang-up in the negotiations.
Rodgers, when asked, also refused to comment on negotiations in progress with Indiana Limestone as a show of good faith.
Steve Evans nor any other representative at Evans Limestone have made themselves available for comment and are continuing to leave messages seeking comment unanswered.
Keep tuned to WBIW News and watching WBIW.com as more information comes along.
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