Cumberland Times-News

November 19, 2012

Dairy strike ends

Union, Potomac Farms sign new contract

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A long and bitter nine-week strike ended Saturday when members of Teamsters Local 453 ratified a new contract with Potomac Farms Dairy. The strike began Sept. 12.

There were conflicting reports in the past two weeks that some workers began crossing picket lines before the end of the strike. The Times-News could not confirm these reports.

The Galliker Dairy Co. of Johnstown, Pa., owns the Potomac Farms Dairy operation.

The company acquired Potomac Farms Dairy in March 1984, according to the company website.

The plant has won a number of awards over the years, most recently from the prestigious Quality Chekd Dairies Inc. trade organization.

Mayor Brian Grim had expressed concern about the situation.

“I remain concerned about the impact this strike has on our community and the impact on our citizens who work there,” he told the Times-News earlier.

At the time of the strike, the union represented 55 workers at the dairy in Cumberland and others working in Oakland, Moorefield, W.Va., and Culpeper and Broadway, Va. Overall, Local 453 represents more than 500 workers at about 35 employers in the four-state region.

A previous contract expired at the end of February 2011, but both sides verbally agreed to continue negotiations. In May, the company made its final offer.

In June, the company “imposed” its final offer, union officials have said. Issues include company contributions to an employee pension plan, wage retroactivity and holiday pay.

 It is unclear if the ratified contract is the same as the final offer made by the company in June.

Repeated requests for comment by company officials have resulted in no response.

The Times—News also made another request for comment by the company Monday via email and left a phone message.

Details of the agreement were not released by press time.