Mercury plans to consolidate, but will meet with union once more

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Mercury Marine confirmed Sunday that the contract proposal rejected by union members Aug. 23 has expired, and the company will now begin planning to transition manufacturing jobs to its Stillwater, Okla., facility.

However, in light of uncertainty surrounding a second round of voting on Mercury’s final offer, Mercury and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have agreed to meet to “bring clarity to the communications regarding the unchanged ‘best and final’ proposal,” Mercury said in a release Monday night.

The IAM conducted a last-minute vote on the original proposal terms and conditions but did not complete the process prior to the expiration of the proposal at midnight Saturday.

Mercury has said it will continue to operate the Fond du Lac facility under the terms and conditions of the existing contract, which expires in 2012.

“We want to personally thank the business and community leaders of Fond du Lac and Stillwater, our local and state government officials and all of the committed employees of Mercury Marine who have supported us and given us their full effort during this difficult process,” Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine, said in the release. “This has been a very difficult and stressful time for all involved but, as we said at the beginning of this process, it is our responsibility to make the best business decisions for the company to have a sustainable future.”

Mercury expects to finalize details of state and local programs over the next few days and that detailed plans for the transition will be announced as they become available. The company expects the full consolidation to take between 24 and 36 months.

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