A local industry and its unionized workers are at odds on a new contract.

A group of employees gathered outside the Mississippi Polymers plant on South Harper Road held signs reading “unlawful lockout” Monday afternoon as passing motorists greeted them with occasional honks of support.

Employees say they are concerned about stagnant wages and rising insurance costs in recent years.

The United Steelworkers, in a press release issued over the weekend, and Mississippi Polymers, in a press release late Monday in response to inquiries from the Daily Corinthian, offered differing accounts of events leading up to the impasse. While the union claims the workers were locked out, the company claims that is not true and that they chose to strike.

USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo said the members are willing to continue working while the bargaining continues.

The company said each member of the bargaining unit will be paid through expiration in accordance with the agreement.

“Mississippi Polymers appreciates the hard work and dedication of all of our employees and sincerely hopes a fair resolution may be reached soon,” the company said in the press release.

Mississippi Polymers is a plastic film manufacturer of primarily vinyl and polyolefin.

The USW says it represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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