HENRYETTA, Oklahoma -- More than a dozen employees who work in the mold department are walking the picket line at the Anchor Glass plant in Henryetta.
The members of the United Steelworkers union Local 145 joined other workers across the country in a strike that started at midnight early Thursday.
Local 145 president Tom Burkhart told the Okmulgee Daily Times newspaper that their three year contract expired and negotiations over the last couple of weeks haven't resulted in a new contract.
Most of the 16 workers are from Okmulgee County, but also come from Kellyville, Mannford, Sapulpa and Ada.
Tom Burkhart says the strikers are walking a picket line on private property next to the Henryetta plant. They plan on picketing daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Anchor Glass issued the following statement about the strike:
Anchor Glass has been negotiating in good faith the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the United Steel Workers. The USW represents workers in Anchor's Zanesville, Ohio mold making facility and the mold shops of Anchor's plants. The current CBA expired August 31, 2011. The USW has decided to strike effective today.
Anchor's USW members have good, well-paying manufacturing jobs that include market-competitive wages and comprehensive healthcare and retiree benefits. Anchor's offer to the USW for the new CBA provides an increase in total compensation over the existing agreement.
In an environment of high unemployment and great economic uncertainty, USW leadership has taken an action that, unfortunately, could negatively impact employees and their families.
Anchor remains willing to negotiate in good faith in order to reach agreement with the USW.
At the same time, Anchor has and will continue to take all appropriate action to ensure uninterrupted service to its customers at the high level that our customers have come to know and expect. We owe this both to our customers and to our existing employees and their families.
The USW has initiated picketing activities at its plants. Anchor respects the USW's right to picket lawfully. The USW has the right to engage in peaceful informational picketing on public property.
The Okmulgee Daily Times assisted with this story.