Maple City Ice, union reps to meet Tuesday

Cary Ashby • Updated Sep 18, 2017 at 9:46 PM

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UPDATED at 9:45 p.m. Monday, Sept 18, 2017: A resident of the Shaker Village housing development off U.S. 20 contacted the Reflector on Monday, asking the newspaper to encourage motorists to “please be respectful to the people who live by the strike not to honk their horns all hours of the night.”

“It is very disrespectful to the people that live in Shaker Village by the road that can hear all the horns and be woken up by them and their are people that still have to get up and go to work and children that have to go to school,” she said, adding, “Not to mention that we have had to listen to these horns for weeks now.

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A federal mediator has been called in for the next set of negotiations between Maple City Ice Co. and the striking drivers.  

“The company has requested that a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service be present for the next round of negotiations scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, starting at 3 (p.m.),” said Pat Hipp, Maple City Ice president, in a statement emailed to the Reflector late Monday morning.

The strike by Maple City Ice drivers entered Day 18 Monday. Hipp, in her statement, said two of the drivers “have resigned from the union and returned to work.”

About seven members and supporters of Teamsters’ Union Local 20 again were set up at the corner of the Cleveland Road business late Monday. There hasn’t been another picket line down the road at 142 Cleveland Road since Wednesday. That is the site of the Ohio BMV Driver Exams Services, a property which is owned by the Hipp family.

Maple City Ice and the union negotiated for about nine hours Friday and “then will go back at it” Tuesday, said Mark Wilson, a business agent with the Teamsters.

“I don’t know how many times they’ve met prior (to Friday),” he added.

Wilson declined to comment on the progress of the negotiations or what the prospect is for the striking drivers. The strike comes as the result of Maple City Ice reportedly backing out of a failing pension system with the Teamsters.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speak on that,” Wilson said.

Hipp, in her statement said, “much of the information published in the Norwalk and Sandusky newspapers regarding the strike in recent days has been inaccurate or misleading since the newspapers primarily rely on comments from the Teamsters’ business representative, Mark Schmiehausen.”

“The Maple City Ice Co. has not taken away the pensions of the eight Norwalk Teamster drivers. Their pension benefits incurred to date are vested in the Central States Pension Fund. The only way they will not receive their benefits is when the fund goes bankrupt in 2025, as projected by the trustees of the fund,” Hipp said.

“The company recently signed a new collective bargaining agreement with our seven Lorain County Beverage employees, who are not in the Central States Pension Fund. The union coerced these drivers to engage in an unlawful strike last Monday. Since then, two of those drivers have resigned from the union and returned to work.”

A union member said Monday the “community has been great” in supporting the Teamsters by delivering food or beverages every day. Wilson said separately there has been “wonderful community support,” adding that union members and community residents who support the strike have joined union representatives at the tent they have set up at the corner of the Maple City Ice property.

Schmiehausen could not be reached for comment.

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