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MERCK LOCK-OUT OF UNION EMPLOYEES AT RAHWAY, HAWTHORNE, N.J., PLANTS

Executive Summary

MERCK LOCK-OUT OF UNION EMPLOYEES AT RAHWAY, HAWTHORNE, N.J., PLANTS initially will not affect drug production at Merck Sharp & Dohme's pharmaceutical headquarters in West Point, Pa., the company maintains. Merck is operating the plants with a contingency team of salaried employees. The firm said operations at the Rahway plant, which manufactures bulk chemicals for animal and human health products, are continuing at full production. Operations at the Calgon subsidiary plant in Hawthorne are limited, Merck said, but there are no production delays. The Calgon plant produces water treatment chemicals. The lock-out at Rahway occurred after stalled negotiations with three unions -- the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Internatl. Union, the Internatl. Chemical Workers Union, and the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union. The Hawthorne facilities were closed to union employees May 6. The lock-out at the two plants occurred due to disagreements on local issues, which include work rules and jurisdictional matters. The three unions jointly represent 4,000 employees of additional Merck plants in West Point, Pa.; Danville, Pa.; Elkton, Va.; Albany, Ga., South San Francisco; and a farm in North Branch, N.J. Contract negotiations for all the plants have halted. Local issues at the other plants reportedly appeared resolvable at the time the negotiations stopped. Work at these additional six sites is continuing without a new contract. Merck plants last experienced strikes in 1969 when contract negotiations broke down over disagreements in wages and benefits. That strike involved 3,000 employees at five plants, West Point, Danville, Hawthorne, Rahway and North Branch. The present lock-out involves 730 employees at Rahway and 38 at Hawthorne. Merck U.S. employees total 16,600.
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