For the second time in little more than a year, production workers at Martin Marietta Corp.'s Middle River complex are being asked to accept wage and benefit concessions the company says are needed to safeguard jobs.
The concessions are included in what was described as the "last and final" contract offer from Martin Marietta. The contract would cover union workers at its plants in Maryland, Denver and Orlando, Fla.
Kenneth Miles, bargaining chairman for Local 738 of the United Auto Workers, which represents about 400 hourly workers at the Baltimore County complex, said yesterday that the union will recommend that its members reject the company's proposal, setting the stage for a possible strike.
Workers are scheduled to meet tomorrow morning at the UAW hall to vote on the contract.
Mr. Miles said he did not think the offer was "fair or something our membership can live with."
The company's offer, he said, includes a 40 cent-an-hour cut in the cost-of-living adjustment; the forfeiture of two paid holidays (Dec. 24 and Jan. 2); and imposition of a two-tier pay scale that would offer a lower salary to new hires as well as for those who had been laid off for a year.
In addition, Mr. Miles said, the company would subcontract for janitorial and cafeteria services, eliminating the jobs of about 20 workers.
The company also proposes to change the way paid leave days are handled, according to Mr. Miles.
"We feel it's not an equitable offer," said Mr. Miles. "They are spending billions of dollars to buy out other companies, and they are telling us they are broke and can't afford to pay the workers.
"They say they need it [concessions] to be competitive. But when we ask for job guarantees, they say they can't guarantee anything."
Raymond Bartlett, a spokesman for Martin Marietta at its corporate headquarters in Bethesda, said the company made a "fair and responsive offer." He said the company is in an extremely competitive environment that makes competing for new business more difficult.
Mr. Miles said the union hopes to avert a strike, which would be the first at Martin Marietta's Middle River complex in about 30 years. "Our hope is that once the memberships turns this down, the two sides can sit down a negotiate a fair contract," he said.
In July 1992, union workers at Middle River agreed to forgo scheduled quarterly cost-of-living wage adjustments as part of a corporate cost-cutting move to win a contract from General Electric Corp. to produce aircraft thrust reversers.