Dozens of workers locked out after failed contract negotiations

EL DORADO (KATV) - Dozens of employees were left in the cold outside a plant in south Arkansas Thursday morning after contract negotiations failed.

Milbank Manufacturing officials said in a press release that they locked the facility to stop access by union employees. The release said management was unable to reach an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 2284, despite ongoing negotiations to renew their contract, which expired at midnight. The lockout will continue until an agreement is reached.

Milbank management has been negotiating with the union in good faith to arrive at a contract that is mutually beneficial to both parties. The proposed contract offered competitive raises and benefits to union employees.

"We are very disappointed with the Union's failure to ratify a fair contract," said Lavon Winkler, President and CEO.

"Everybody showed up this morning," employee Parker Krepick told KATV Thursday morning. "But they won't let us park near the road or beside the road. They locked the doors."

Krepick said there were law enforcement officers there to keep anyone from going in as well. Milbank says some employees were informed that the doors would be locked Thursday morning.

Milbank remains hopeful that the matter will be resolved in a timely manner. Until an agreement is reached, Milbank's salaried employees will fill the roles and responsibilities of those vacated by the union labor force to minimize any impact to production.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo, Milbank designs and builds solutions that move power for the residential, commercial, industrial, utility and transportation sectors.

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