The problem was, the voting started at 10 p.m. on Saturday night and again at 6 a.m. this morning--a full six hours after the company said its offer would expire.
A last-minute decision Saturday to have a second vote on a labor contract at Mercury Marine Inc. was effectively killed early Sunday when the company said it would not accept the results of any ballots cast after midnight.
Late Saturday night, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 1947 announced there would be a second vote on the contract proposal that was scheduled to expire at midnight. Voting began at the union hall in Fond du Lac shortly after 10 p.m., was expected to last until midnight and continue on Sunday until 6 p.m.
But early Sunday morning, union officials said a Mercury Marine executive told them the company would not accept any ballots cast after midnight.
Thus, the polls will not be open Sunday as announced earlier, said Dan Longsine, the union’s chief negotiator.
Ballots cast Saturday night will probably be voided, Longsine said. The union had wanted to continue voting on Sunday, thus giving members adequate opportunity to cast their ballots.
In a statement released at 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Mercury said:
"The IAM conducted a last-minute vote on the original proposal terms and conditions but did not complete the process to a definitive conclusion prior to the expiration of the proposal. As a result, Mercury said it will continue to operate the Fond du Lac facility under the terms and conditions of the existing contract, which expires in 2012. Manufacturing workers in Fond du Lac are represented by the IAM, Local chapter 1947. As previously announced, the company will now begin the transition planning process to its Stillwater, Okla., facility."
It appears that the union, which knew of the company deadline all week, tried to pull a quick PR stunt in an effort to cast the pall of blame back on the company.
Whether or not the members see through this transparent effort is unknown. What is known, however, is that 850 Machinists' members will soon be unemployed.