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Wendt Corp. workers agree to tentative contract

More than two years after they voted in favor of joining a union, workers at Wendt Corp. have reached a tentative agreement on a first contract with the company.

Details of the agreement between members of Ironworkers Shopmen Local 576 and the company were not yet available.

"The Wendt workers and their union stood strong and never flinched in the face of a very difficult campaign," the Western New York Area Labor Federation said in a statement about the deal. "They proved that if the working people stay united and are clear in their objectives, victory can be achieved."

Wendt, which has a facility on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, is a family owned business that makes metal shredders. The drawn-out bargaining between the company and the workers drew the attention of other unions and some elected leaders, who joined rallies outside the plant in support of the workers.

Ginger Schroder, an attorney for Wendt, said the company and union expected to release a joint statement about the deal later this week and she declined to comment before then. Anthony Rosaci, an attorney for the union, did not return messages to comment.

As of last month, the size of the bargaining unit had dropped to 24 workers from 34 workers at the time of the June 2017 certification election. Each side had blamed the other for a lack of progress in the talks.

Job security and outsourcing were two key sticking points in bargaining. The union was pushing for job security for its members, while the company wanted to maintain the production flexibility that it described as a staple of its business operations.

The dispute between the two sides extended to a National Labor Relations Board trial. In February, an NLRB judge ruled Wendt had violated federal labor law in its treatment of workers who supported the push for a first labor contract. The company vowed to fight that ruling all the way to federal court if necessary, and filed its own unfair labor practice charges, accusing the union of bargaining in bad faith.

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