STILL STRIKING: Factory has new owners, but no deal

COLUMBIA CITY ­— Strikers weren’t silenced when new ownership took over Coupled Products LLC in Columbia City.Twenty-nine members of United Auto Workers Local 2049 started picketing the manufacturer in June 2011. Claims of unfair labor practices after contract negotians fell a part has kept 21 of the 29 picketers active.A 33 percent pay cut was rejected by the union as well as a reduction in benefits, according to area media.Those participating in the strike are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, $2,000 a week in strike pay and full insurance benefits from the UAW. Joyce Lane, bargaining chairwoman for UAW Local 2049, said the strikers are better off financially than if they were in the factory working for reduced wages and benefits.Coupled Products LLC officials said the company’s financial situation forced them to make cuts to keep the company afloat. When union leaders asked to review the financials, company officials declined.After a judge ruled that Coupled Products LLC didn’t have to provide financial records in June 2012, workers filed an appeal.December of 2012, the company was acquired by TJD Industries. The partnership is comprised of Jonathan Drew and Tina Johnson. The pair originally worked together as president and operations director of Coupled Products.After 19 months, Johnson did not offer any reason to think the strike will be resolved soon. Details of the sales agreement for the Coluimbia City factory was not offered. The manufacturer makes metal fittings connecting hoses and tube assemblies for automotive, construction, agriculture and appliance industries.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 14 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.