Buzzi Unicem does not want to permanently close its Oglesby plant, a union representative told the company’s displaced workers at a Monday union meeting.
Carey Allen, director of division services for the Cement, Lime, Gypsum & Allied Workers, acknowledged that Buzzi would not resume cement production in Oglesby in 2010.
But Allen also said Buzzi officials insisted they have no interest in shuttering the plant.
“The company says they are not ready to pull the trigger on the plant,” he said, “that they want to keep it on their books.
“They still say,” he added later, “and have said as recently as last week that they want business to pick up so they can reopen the plant.”
If the out-of-work employees were mollified by that pronouncement, it didn’t show. About 40 workers variously said, during a question-and-answer session with government officials, their time and their options are running out.
Insurance for most Buzzi workers lapses on Dec. 1. A year after that, the workers are scheduled to lose their recall rights, which could create unwelcome possibilities including the plant getting shuttered with no compensation to those laid off.
Allen said he has contacted Buzzi to begin effects bargaining that could open the door to extending both the insurance and the recall deadlines.
Joe Bezely of Ladd, president of the cement, lime and gypsum workers, a division of the Brotherhood of Boilermakers, said he’s not optimistic that would achieve any results.