Master Lock workers to demonstrate

Members of United Auto Workers Local 469 plan to demonstrate today at the shareholders meeting for Master Lock parent company Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. in Wheeling, Ill.

According to UAW, the home and security product distributor saw its stock price jump from less than $12 to more than $36 per share in the last year and a half.

“We want to let shareholders know that we are proud to be part of a company that is profitable and has forecasts for more to come,” said Mike Bink, president of UAW Local 469. “Unfortunately, it has shaped up to be a lopsided equation for our members. We have continued to give to the company’s success and are now facing drastic benefit cuts and the possibility of not being able to retire with dignity.”

The union, which represents 350 Master Lock employees, has been unable to reach an agreement with Fortune on a new contract. The current contract expired on March 31, but was extended to April 3.

The company has asked current employees to forgo retirement benefits and shoulder more healthcare costs, according to UAW. The suggested benefits plan would not provide wage increases the union agrees with and continues a two-tier benefits structure it is unhappy with.

Local 469 held an informational picket at Master Lock in Milwaukee on April 19 to protest the company’s contract offer.

“This has been very confusing to workers because this is a moment when they should share in the success they have worked so hard for,” said Ron McInroy, UAW Region 4 Director. “Instead, our members are being asked to give even more back to a profitable company.”

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