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Despite Ruling, Union’s Still Hopeful on Cequent

Despite losing one battle Wednesday (Jan. 31), United Steelworkers Local 9550 still plans to fight the war as the union tries to save 450 jobs at the Cequent Performance Products plant in Goshen, Ind.

In fact, they won another battle in the ruling handed down by Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. Wednesday in U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana. Miller ruled against the union’s attempt to be granted a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Cequent from moving equipment out of its Goshen plant in preparation for its move to Mexico.

“Obviously we are disappointed in that portion of the ruling of the court,” said Jim Robinson, United Steelworkers District 7 director.

However, Miller did affirm a previous ruling that the dispute over the company being able to outsource jobs while laying people off, is subject to arbitration.

“The court confirmed that grievance was arbitrable, and confirmed that the arbitrator had sufficient authority to remedy what the company is doing,” Robinson said.

“So to that extent we feel positive about the decision. What we’re saying is, you are sending work to Mexico and laying people off and that violates the contract.”

Cequent officials could not be reached for comment. The company is owned by Detroit, Mich.-based Trimas Corp., which announced the layoffs in late November.

No date has been set for the arbitration hearing, said Mike O’Brien, Sub District 4 director for much of northern Indiana.

The union has received dates from the arbitrator, O’Brien said, and is waiting for the company to respond.

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