September 1, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
70°F

Sandridge workers to decide contract

Union employees at Sandridge Foods are expected to vote on a revised three-year contract today.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 represents 325 employees at Sandridge Food Corp., which employs between 525 and 550 employees at the refrigerated food company’s Commerce Drive location in Medina.

Robert Grauvogl, Local 880 president, said the union was recommending employees approve the contract, which addresses concerns employees had about some language in an initial proposal last week.

“It appeared that the membership was concerned about certain language changes to the contract, fearing that they might lose something,” Grauvogl said. “Because that was not the intent of the changes, company and union officials agreed to revise the language to allay those concerns, and to then take the revised proposal back to the membership.”

The initial agreement was voted down by union members last weekend based on the language issues, he said.

The rejection of the initial contract has strained relations somewhat between management and workers.

On Tuesday, Sandridge CEO Mark Sandridge sent a memo to employees notifying them that the company’s traditional holiday luncheon had been canceled “due to the recent decision to vote ‘no’ on the proposed union contract.”

Sandridge President Bill Frantz acknowledged Thursday that some workers were upset by the cancellation, saying the CEO’s “words could have been chosen better” in the memo.

But Frantz said there was a practical reason to cancel the luncheon: Company officials have spent the last two days meeting with employees to explain the revised language in the new contract.

“We had four meetings yesterday and three this morning,” he said. “The timing was unfortunate and business comes first unfortunately.”

Frantz said the company tries to boost morale among employees year-round, including turkey giveaways at Thanksgiving and a summer event at which the company rents out the Medina County fairgrounds for the employees and their families.

During many of the company events, there are giveaways and gifts for employees, he said. This month, the company is giving jackets to all employees to thank them but reiterated the luncheon just wasn’t possible.

“We try to do a lot of things for our employees,” he said. “But the timing on this one just wasn’t good.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.