FireKing to Continue Production and Customer Service During Teamsters Contract Dispute
Local 89 Refuses to Accept Generous Offer
(New Albany, IN) May 5, 2022/ FireKing International, LLC, the U.S.’s leading manufacturer of fire and impact rated storage products, received unfortunate news today from Teamsters Local No. 89 that the Union has voted to reject the Company’s best and final proposal for a new agreement and is planning to begin a strike next week. In an effort to best serve its employees and customers, the Company made several fair and reasonable offers that would increase employee benefits and pay across the board.
The Company offered the Union its last and best offer on Wednesday. The Company’s proposal included, among other things:
- -Highest first year wage increase in the history of the company
- -Increasing hourly wages in each year of the contract
- -Reducing the amount employees contribute to health insurance costs
- -Adding an additional paid holiday
- -Increasing various bonuses and reimbursable expenses
“We are deeply disappointed that the Union has chosen to go down this path,” said FireKing CEO Rick Mejia. “We negotiated in good faith with the union for several weeks, resulting in a very fair and competitive final proposal for the Union Membership.”
FireKing, headquartered in New Albany, Indiana, and operating since 1951, has 141 employees, including 86 Teamsters. Mejia said many non-union workers could be repurposed in the event of a strike to keep up production.
“We have multiple levers at our disposal to maintain production levels and continue to meet all customer demands. A potential strike will impact operations, but we have a dedicated non-union staff, many of whom started in production, that will keep the Company moving forward and strong during this period,” Mejia said. “We made numerous, generous offers which were unfortunately rejected. Our mission is to ensure our customers continue to receive the best possible service.”
The sticking point between the two sides is healthcare. The Union would not budge on its proposal to move all employees to TeamCare, a Union-sponsored healthcare plan. This idea was seriously considered by FireKing leadership, but ultimately, because TeamCare would only provide a one-year rate guarantee, this option is unworkable, puts significant uncertainty on the Company and any employee who opts to participate in that plan at risk of uncertain rate hikes after just one year. The Union proposed plan also would eliminate the Company’s ability to shop more competitive plans for the duration of the agreement. Additionally, TeamCare eliminated a la carte options for certain benefits, which would have led to serious premium increases for workers.
“We tried to address employee concerns regarding healthcare costs and proposed to reduce individual contributions. Unfortunately, the Union rejected this because it is putting the interests of the International Teamsters leadership ahead of what’s best for its individual members. We hope they reconsider this,” Mejia said.
Ultimately, Mejia said, the Company’s leadership hopes for a quick resolution so that FireKing can fully focus on making the best fire and impact-rated storage products in the industry.
“We appreciate our employees and consider them all to be part of the FireKing family,” Mejia said. “We are working each day for the long-term health of the Company and to provide a safe and professional atmosphere for those who join our team. We hope to resolve this matter as soon as possible and implore the Union leadership to encourage the acceptance of the Company’s proposal.”
Media Contact: Kevin Grout, RunSwitch Public Relations
Founded in 1951 in Louisville, KY as a division of Murphy Manufacturing, FireKing® designs and manufactures high-quality storage products to protect vital records, documents, and information storage media from the risks of fire and fire-related severe impact.
The company is the only remaining US manufacturer of fire and impact rated storage products. The company’s filing cabinets continue to serve as the last-resort protection for sensitive physical records and materials. SureSeals offer residential and commercial customers secure, portable, and fire-rated storage.
FireKing currently employs over 140 employees, most of whom work out of either the manufacturing facility or the company headquarters, both located in New Albany, Indiana.