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Steelworkers union seeks to represent workers at Versailles plant

The United Steelworkers union seeks to represent employees at the Pilkington North America plant in Versailles.
The United Steelworkers union seeks to represent employees at the Pilkington North America plant in Versailles. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A union seeks to represent employees at one of the larger factories in Versailles.

Chris Ormes, field organizer for the United Steelworkers union, confirmed Wednesday that the union is asking workers at Pilkington North America to sign cards expressing their desire to be represented.

“Workers contacted us,” Ormes said. “The workers want a union.”

The signed cards would be used to petition the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election to decide whether the union will represent certain employees.

The labor board would determine who is eligible to vote and then schedule a secret-ballot election. If the union wins the election, plant management must recognize the union and negotiate a contract that would cover wages and other issues.

Phone calls to the plant’s human resources office were not returned.

Pilkington employs about 300 people at the Versailles plant, according to the Kentucky Directory of Manufacturers. Not all workers would be eligible to vote if a union election is scheduled. Typically those who vote are not part of management. The plant makes automobile windshields as well as back and side windows for vehicles.

The union represents workers at several glass plants across the country. In 2003, the Steelworkers were successful in unionizing a Pilkington plant in Shelbyville, Ind.

Another Pilkington plant in Lathrop, Calif., that also made auto glass and that was represented by the United Steelworkers, closed in 2014.

Pilkington is a subsidiary of Nippon Sheet Glass. At one time the Versailles plant, which began production in 1987, was known as United L-N Glass.

In 2005, workers at the printing and book-binding factory known as Quebecor World in Versailles — now known as Quad/Graphics — voted to be represented by the Teamsters.

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