Unionized employees of Milbank Manufacturing arrived at the El Dorado facility early this morning to discover their workplace blocked off by a rope barrier and Union County sheriff’s deputies telling them they’d been locked out.
Approximately 20 employees camped out in a neighboring lot midday Thursday, explaining that they’d voted down the final contract offer by Milbank the night previous. The negative vote resulted in the expiration of a three-year contract at midnight Wednesday.
Without a contract in place, Milbank locked its 109 union employees, a hefty majority, from the premises, said Union President Allison Howell.
Negotiations have been underway since Jan. 21 concerning the health insurance and attendance policies in particular, she said.
Next door, Milbank representatives refused to comment, according to the Union County deputy who escorted any media from the property.
The corporate office has yet to return multiple calls for comment.