Updated: October 30, 2020 05:29 PM
Created: October 29, 2020 09:29 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Thursday, Congressman Jim Hagedorn asked U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to investigate the legality of a California-based company threatening to close its three Rochester facilities and layoff nearly 500 workers if they do not renegotiate their less than one year old contract.
Hagedorn says last December, employees of Crenlo Engineered Cabs in Rochester signed a labor agreement to last until 2024. Crenlo’s parent company is now threatening to impose changes as soon as November 1 if the workers do not renegotiate their contract to include reduced scheduled pay raises, adjustments to health and dental plans, and revisions to overtime and holiday pay calculations. The company has also refused to pay for accommodations for the union to hold a vote to renegotiate at an offsite facility that allows for proper COVID-19 precautions.
In addition to the letter below, Hagedorn says he personally discussed the matter with U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene during the secretary’s visit to Le Center today.
Dear Secretary Scalia,
I write today regarding a recent development in which a California-based company is threatening to terminate the employment of approximately 500 of its employees in Rochester, MN if the employees do not renegotiate their existing labor contract.
Angeles Equity Partners – the owner of Rochester-based Crenlo Engineered Cabs, which employs nearly 500 southern Minnesotans across three facilities – recently notified the UAW Local 2125 that the company was “reviewing business practices” and threatened to close all three Rochester facilities if the current labor contract is not renegotiated.
The Crenlo employees’ current contract is less than a year old – signed in December 2019 – and does not expire until 2024. Even though the employees were notified only at the end of September of potential changes, Angeles leadership is asserting that changes could come as soon as November 1. Additionally, the company’s terms for maintaining the jobs and facilities in Rochester include:
• Reducing a 2.5 percent pay raise scheduled for December 2020 to 1 percent;
• Reducing the 3 percent pay raise scheduled for 2021 to 1 percent;
• Reducing the 2.5 percent increase in 2022 to 1.5 percent; as well as,
• Changes to health and dental insurance plans and overtime and holiday pay calculations – among other issues.
The union has attempted to accommodate the company’s short notice and hold a vote to renegotiate the labor contract off-site at a venue that allows for proper social distancing and COVID-19 precautions, however Angeles is refusing to pay for these accommodations.
The conduct of Angeles Equity Partners is, at the very best, unreasonable and indecent, and quite possibly illegal. In a time of such uncertainty, when so many Minnesotans are struggling to make ends meet, it is our obligation to do all we can to protect and preserve the livelihoods of our honest, hardworking Americans and their families. That is why I am requesting that the U.S. Department of Labor step in and thoroughly examine this situation to ensure that all rights and legal protections of the Crenlo employees in Rochester are upheld and exercised through each step of this process.
Member of Congress
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