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Parks workers set to vote today on ending strike Compromise contract still includes pay cut


One hundred striking employees of Parks Sausage Co. ar scheduled to vote this morning on a proposal to end the 11-day-old strike against the Baltimore sausage maker.

Parks Chairman Raymond V. Haysbert Sr. said last night that he and representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27 had agreed to let the membership vote on a compromise contract that would reduce the workers' pay but would not increase the amount they pay toward their health benefits.

The workers walked off their jobs May 9 after hitting an impasse in negotiations over a new contract. The employees had been working without a contract for six months before striking.

In its original proposal, Parks Sausage had asked for a 75-cents-an-hour pay cut, a $20-a-week deduction for health-care costs, higherco-payments for medical expenses and an increased deductible on the company's drug plan to $5 a prescription, from 50 cents.

Mr. Haysbert said last night that he thought the vote, scheduled for 10:30, would be "touch and go" because the current proposal still includes a pay cut.

The new wage reduction would be less than the original 75-cents proposal, he said, but he declined to provide specific figures.

He also said the pay cut would be temporary, without specifying the length of the concession.

A representative of the union could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

Mr. Haysbert had said previously that he asked for these concessions because Parks had lost $4.5 million in the past two years. The company employs 250 workers, including 50 management employees and 100 salespeople in four offices.

Mr. Haysbert said the cuts were necessary to Parks' survival. "Without some relief, they won't have any jobs," he said.

The two sides have been meeting with a federal mediator for the past three days to try to resolve the contract dispute.

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