(SHOALS) - National Gypsum Company has ended the lockout at its Shoals plant. The company and United Steelworkers Union still do not have a contract.
Workers had to report to the plant for drug screening and will have to attend a safety course next week before returning to work. Workers should be back on the job March 20th.
Union employees have worked without a contract since Feb. 1.
After months of negotiations and no agreement being reached, the company locked out employees on Sept. 6th.
Union officials say the lockout was unlawful and filed a suit with the National Labor Board. They also claim the company changed its method of paying for health insurance premiums for union workers and changed its lockout-tagout safety system.
A judge will rule on the allegations on April 10th.
The union and company are still trying to reach a contract agreement and plan to meet on Saturday. At the crux of the disagreement is the retirement package.
Those ages 40 and older may stay on the company's traditional pension plan. Those ages 39 and younger would be put on a 401(k)-type plan. In both offers the company would contribute to the retirement packages. But union officials want to keep the traditional pension plan for all employees.
Union officials say the membership is united in protecting the pension benefit plan.
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