(OOLITIC) - Limestone workers picketing in front of the Indiana Limestone Company's main gate in Oolitic say management is taunting them.
Millworkers Local 8093 officially went on strike at 5 a.m. Wednesday after they refused to accept the company's contract on Tuesday.
Union Negotiator Ron Watson says the company is trying to rewrite the contract all at once, stripping seniority rights, proposing tighter limits for workers who take days off or who are late for work.
One example is workers only getting 24 hours of sick time. Their contract expired Oct. 31, but both sides agreed to a two-week extension, but that extension expired Tuesday.
Company representatives told the union that they were not willing to negotiate on the terms they presented. That is when the union voted to strike.
The company issued a press release saying they presented their last, best and final offer and gave the union one last chance to accept it Tuesday.
Most of the management team has not received a wage increase since 2008. Employees on strike make between $17.51 to $18.76 per hour. The company says operations will continue as normal and customers will not experience any disruptions.
"We are disappointed that in this difficult economic time, when many Hoosiers are looking for work, the union would choose not to work even after being offered what we consider to be a generous contract offer which includes a wages increase over the life of the contract."
Police Investigate As Tempers Flare
Union representatives called Lawrence County police Wednesday afternoon alleging management were taunting strikes by swerving their vehicles at them. One striker reported their foot was run over. Police are investigating.
Indiana Limestone Co. is one of the area's oldest limestone companies and has been in business for more than 100 years. Its main business is supplying dimensional limestone blocks and slabs to other fabricators.
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