August 21, 2009

Mercury threatens union with move

A union vote at Mercury Marine Inc. in Fond du Lac, Wis., Sunday will determine whether the boat motor company leaves the state, Mercury's president says.

Mercury has said it will move its Wisconsin operations to Stillwater, Okla., if a majority of 1,900 union members refuse to approve concessions, including a seven-year wage freeze and a sharp pay reduction for new hires, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday.

There won't be a job for them if the concessions aren't approved, Mercury President Mark Schwabero said.

Oklahoma has offered to cover the company's moving expenses. Similarly, Wisconsin has offered to cover costs should the company abandon its Oklahoma facility and move to Wisconsin.

We are comfortable no matter which way this goes, Schwabero said. Our intention is to have a decision by the end of the summer for everything, including the headquarters.

Union leaders were not recommending that members accept the new contract.

I can tell you that no one on the bargaining committee is going to vote for this, said Mark Zillges, president of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace.