Union workers reject contract

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Union workers at Demopolis’ largest industry officially rejected their employer’s contract offer Thursday.

Gulf States employees, whose five-year contract ended Wednesday morning, voted against a new contract offered by the Tuscaloosa-based company. However, PACE spokesman Emory Barnette said there is no reason for alarm.

Unlike the forceful unions of the Northeast and Midwest, the local PACE union’s tactics are not geared toward a work-stoppage at Gulf States.

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Barnette, who has spent 30 years in the Demopolis area and worked two decades at Gulf States, has repeatedly said this is not a big issue.

Dan Meissner, spokesman for Gulf States, could not be reached for comment late Thursday afternoon.

However, he made it clear Wednesday that Gulf States was committed to finding a workable contract for the employees and the company.

Barnette said he will serve as a negotiator for union employees at Gulf States, but he doesn’t know when negotiations will resume or how long they will take.