Hoffmaster union workers picket job fair

OSHKOSH – More than 300 union workers for Hoffmaster in Oshkosh are barely a week away from a possible strike.

As the company that makes disposable paper products held a job fair Thursday to find new workers, current workers were there handing out flyers.

Braving bitterly cold temperatures, Hoffmaster union workers stood outside the Best Western hotel. The workers were handing out slips of paper claiming the company has been unfair. While inside the hotel, just two days after receiving notice from the union of a potential strike, the company was conducting a job fair they said was closed to the media.

The two sides have been at an impasse since the union’s contract expired nine months ago.

“It’s always frustrating, we hope we will reach something but we haven’t had any talks,” said Tim Neubauer, local union president.

Though they refused to speak with us on-camera, a company representative told FOX 11 that Hoffmaster has submitted two contract proposals in the last year offering wage increases, but questioning the retirement plan. The union rejected both offers. The company says it is disappointed by the union’s actions. The representative said the company was hiring workers for full-time positions at plants in Oshkosh, Oconto and Clintonville. But union members aren’t buying that explanation.

“A lot of the people that they would hire would be replacement workers, there may be some permanent ones too, but we believe a lot of them would be replacement workers,” said Neubauer.

The union voted down the company’s latest proposal just two weeks ago and union officials say the two sides have not spoken since and they say there are no more talks scheduled before Thursday’s strike deadline.

But some at the job fair say they aren’t concerned about the contract fight.

“I just kind of need a job, so I don’t really care too much what’s said either way. I just want to hear something positive about this,” said Alan Swisher of Oshkosh.

The company hinted that it would not provide another offer, saying the one the union rejected two weeks ago was its best and final offer.

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