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Labor union and Mississippi plant locked in labor dispute

The union says 100+ employees were locked out, but the company says the workers went on strike and are not locked out.
Credit: MQ-Illustrations - stock.adobe.com

CORINTH, Miss — A union says a Mississippi manufacturing plant has locked out more than 100 of its employees amid an ongoing labor dispute, but the company says the workers chose to go on strike and were not locked out. 

The United Steelworkers said Mississippi Polymers locked out its members from the plant in Corinth. 

But Mississippi Polymers says it didn't lock out the workers, saying they chose to go on strike at noon on Friday. 

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Mississippi Polymers makes films and chemicals used in a variety of products. 

The plant opened in 1961.

United Steelworkers statement: 

"The USW today condemned Mississippi Polymers’ decision to lock out more than 100 members of USW Local 759L in its Corinth, Miss., plant.

“Our members are ready and willing to keep working while we continue bargaining a fair deal,” said USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo. “It’s appalling that the company is willing to take this drastic step and keep workers off the job instead of working in good faith to resolve our outstanding differences.”

The local has been bargaining a new contract with Mississippi Polymers. On June 4, the company refused to allow workers on the job after they voted down a proposal with unreasonable changes to their health insurance and reducing their job security. At midnight the company instituted a formal lock out.

“These hard-working union members and their families deserve a contract that reflects their dedication and commitment,” Flippo said. “We are willing to keep working until we reach that agreement, but the company must end this illegal lock out.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations."

Mississippi Polymers issued the following statement to ABC affiliate WTVA on Monday:

"Mississippi Polymers, Inc. (“Mississippi Polymers” or the “Company”), a family owned and operated plastic film manufacturer, today issued a formal statement in response to the United Steelworkers (“USW”) decision to strike at the Company’s Corinth, Mississippi plant on June 4th, 2021. Mississippi Polymers also wishes to address and correct certain statements made through a United Steelworkers-issued Press Release on June 5, 2021, as well as claims and information presented on the USW website regarding this matter.

Mississippi Polymers would like to clearly state that this formal response should in no way be construed as an attempt to negotiate with the United Steelworkers through the press or social media. The Company is issuing this statement to go on the record and set right the sequence of events leading up the USW strike:

  • Mississippi Polymers did NOT lock out the United Steelworkers. The United Steelworkers chose to strike around 12 Noon CT on Friday, June 4, 2021.
  • At approximately 1 pm CT on Friday, June 4, 2021, the United Steelworkers posted a message instructing members of Local 759L to check their individual voicemail and text message to receive their picket line assignment.
  • The agreement with the United Steelworkers expired at midnight CT on June 4, 2021. Each member of the bargaining unit will be paid by the Company through expiration in accordance with the agreement.

Mississippi Polymers appreciates the hard work and dedication of all of our employees and sincerely hopes a fair resolution may be reached soon."