Plastics employees vote to strike Friday Teamsters cite wages and open shop


Workers at Adell Plastics Inc. in North Linthicum plan to strike Friday unless the company agrees to terms employees have sought for more than a year, an official of the employees' labor union said yesterday.

Manufacturing employees at the plastics recycling company voted Saturday to strike, after the company rejected workers' demands for wage increases, health and welfare protection and the right to maintain a closed union shop, said John Clemens, president of Local 557 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Mr. Clemens said he told employees to go to their jobs yesterday and continue working until they receive notice from the local, which represents 85 workers at the plant in the 4500 block of Annapolis Road.

Company officials had no comment on the vote. A spokesman for Adell's president, Arthur F. Dellheim, said only that "the plant is operating as normal."

The company was to have received official notice of the vote yesterday, said Mr. Clemens, who first had to notify the Teamsters and arrange for out-of-work benefits for strikers.

He expected benefits to come through by Wednesday or Thursday, allowing workers to strike by Friday.

Pat Pilachowski, a Shawe & Rosenthal attorney who has been assisting attorney Stephen Shawe in negotiating for the company, said Mr. Clemens contacted him yesterday.

"We hope to keep the lines of communications open," he said.

Mr. Clemens described Adell as a "slave labor camp," where low wages often forced workers to take second jobs to make ends meet. He said employees have no recourse against management decisions and workers have gone without raises since August 1990, when wages rose 25 cents an hour.

"They are in a desperate situation," he said, with employees making an average $7 an hour. "They're at their wit's end. They're in a position where they're working their tail ends off and getting nothing in return."

The local has represented the workers since January 1992, when employees voted to replace the Seafarers International Union as their labor representative.

At that time, employees complained that the Seafarers failed to represent them on problems and to successfully negotiate a new contract after one expired in August 1991.

Negotiations between the company and the Teamsters continued last year.

After a series of proposals and counter-proposals, employees considered the company's final offer Saturday, rejecting it and voting "overwhelmingly" to strike, Mr. Clemens said.

"They didn't want to give the employees anything," Mr. Clemens said.

The union sought hourly wage increases of 50 cents each year for the next three years, then asked for 40 cents the first year, 35 cents the second and 20 cents the third.

Mr. Clemens said the company refused increases of more than 25 cents each year.

The union objects to the current open shop, which does not require employees to join the union, and to a management rights article, which union officials believe gives management free reign and employees no means of airing complaints.

The company also refused requests to establish several committees that would deal with safety, health and welfare, and concerns of employees and managers, Mr. Clemens said.

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