AHF Products, which used to operate under the name of Armstrong Flooring, has been around for 30 years and is the “largest manufacturer of pre-finished hardwood flooring in North America,” according to AHF Products Plant Manager Blaine Emery.
Emery stated that AHF Products employees approximately 600 people, 478 of whom are members of Teamsters Local Union No. 175.
According to a statement sent out by Teamsters Local Union No. 175, “[AHF Products] is trying to increase health care costs to some employees by 92% over the life of a three year contract,” despite AHF Products’ “cost for health benefits decreasing.”
The union has offered to provide members “the exact same benefits” at “no additional cost” for the term of the agreement, according to the statement, and would plan to build a clinic in Elkins to “[reduce] costs to employees.”
Emery said that the management of AHF Products and Teamsters members have been in contract negotiations for the past 3 weeks, and that “AHF products highly values all its employees, as well as the local Teamsters union.”
On Friday, Emery stated that contract negotiations had wrapped up, and the Teamsters union members would be voting on the current version of the contract over the weekend. In a statement, Teamsters leadership said “[AHF Products] is refusing to reasonably negotiate,” and “[refused] to meet in December and January” despite the contract expiring on Feb. 22.
During the negotiation period, AHF Products dealt “directly with employees,” and has “threatened to replace all employees,” according to a statement released by Teamsters officials.
“AHF Products does not want a strike,” Emery said, and continued to say that the company is going to continue service to their customers in the event a strike occurs; Emery also said that the company “has a contingency plan in place” should negotiations fall through and union members go on strike.
In a release, Teamsters Local No. 175 President said, “It has been apparent from the very beginning this company never intended to reach an agreement” … “[F]or a company to meet directly with employees before negotiations have finished is unprecedented.”
Emery said, “A strike is not in anyone’s best interest. It’s not good for the company, it’s not good for employees and it’s not good for the community.”