February 2011
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Recovery Agreements Aid Organizing in York, Pa.

Mass. Attorney Gen. to Verizon: Fix Your

North of 49°
First District Protests Privatization of Canada's Nuclear Agency

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Les sections locales du Premier District protestent contre la privatisation de
la Société nucléaire canadienne







Tennessee Community Challenges Plant Shutdown

Bo McCurry had spread concrete on construction sites for 15 years when he went searching for a three-month job to get him through the winter. He got hired at Thomas Lighting's fixture manufacturing plant in Sparta, Tenn. That was in 1988.

McCurry never left. There, he met his future wife, Donna, joined Sparta Local 2143 and a family of union workers and managers that has been celebrated for its progressive relationship and productivity, contributing to the factory's designation as one of the top 10 manufacturing plants in North America in 2009 by Industry Week magazine.

On Nov. 11, the McCurrys—who share 50 years of seniority at the plant—were blindsided when representatives of the plant's owner, Netherlands-based Philips Luminaires, showed up at the factory to announce that it would be shut down. Most of the work performed by 130 bargaining unit members and 170 others will be transferred to a new plant under construction in Mexico.

Just two months ago, Sparta's work force was awarded the "Lean Manufacturing Cup," for efficiency, by Philips. Soon they will begin making fixtures that will use energy-efficient LED bulbs. The line will move to Mexico after it becomes productive.

"It was the way they pulled the plug on us," says McCurry, 56, president of Local 2143, recalling several successful rounds of negotiations over the years to keep the doors open on a plant that has not seen a union-led work stoppage in 30 years. Distribution costs have been cut by 60 percent and defective parts by 95 percent over the past four years.


Hill: Inspiration in Tennessee
Lee: Congress: Don't Kill Good Construction Jobs

Vermont IBEW to Plant Opponents: Don't Distort
the Facts

Winning the
Perception Battle

Savvy Online Campaign Yields Victory for N.Y. Can Plant Workers

December 2010

Ark. Retiree Spins
Blues-Inspired Tunes for College Radio