I am a laborer and union president at Parkersburg Bedding LLC. Our company supplies mattresses and box springs in 19 states with around 129 stores. Our products were at one time an exclusive item and we were successful in making our parent company profitable. The profit our company has made and the success came from the backs of the employees.
We have been struggling since late 2009 to survive as workers. Our work hours continue to diminish, in some cases not enough to pay for health insurance. At 2009, we had 120-plus employees and now we are down to 52. For whatever reason our employer has chosen to put a competitor's mattress line in floor spaces that Parkersburg Bedding exclusively held and then fails to promote its own line of bedding. This decision alone has drastically taken a heavy toll on the employees of Parkersburg Bedding.
And now we have been asked for concession bargaining in order to compete. This request has divided our workforce. We are at the company's mercy. We are tired, depressed and frustrated. When we express these concerns, we are essentially told that corporate doesn't care - we must be able to compete. In my opinion this is just another example of the current culture of corporate America. The company calls this a "competitive" and "more productive" move. I call it corporate greed that has taken over this country and is completely out of control.
Timothy D. Farr
EDITOR'S NOTE: Timothy Farr is president of United/SEIU Local 1526.