UPDATE: Park Falls Weather Shield gets votes to stay open
PARK FALLS (WAOW) -- Debbie Schutte was just one of the 158 Weather Shield employees that faced a tough decision.
"We have to decide where we are going to go. What we are going to do with our home. Pick up and leave, where do we choose to go?" Schutte said.
With a "no-vote" from the labor union last week, Weather Shield announced plans to close. But, after another round of negations, a new contract was reached. Approved on Monday night by Local Teamsters Union 662, the company will stay open. The final vote was 58-32.
"In order to keep the jobs here in Park Falls, which are very limited and hard to come by, we realized there was some concessions that needed to be made. And we were willing to do that for the company and the employees," Mark Parsons, union representative said.
Union reps say the new contract does not take any money out of employees pockets. Instead, their wages will be frozen and workers will not get their 2-3 percent increase during the next two years.
"Fortunately we came to some good agreements on both sides and this plant will stay open at least for a few more years," Parsons says.
And Weather Shield is reacting too. Andy Jensen, Corporate General Manager released a statement saying, "It is nice to see, especially in these tough economic and political times that business, government and union labor officials can come together, make joint sacrifices and do what's right for the long-term good of employees and a community like Park Falls".
The decision to keep the plant open is certainly a blessing for Debbie and her family.
"Everyone likes more money in their pocket. But we have a job to report to everyday, we can pay our bills, and put food on our table," Schutte said.