Modesto can maker continues employee lockout, but negotiations will resume Monday

jnsbranti@modbee.comDecember 13, 2013 

— Contract negotiations have been scheduled for this week, but about 100 workers remained locked out of their jobs at Silgan Containers’ Modesto can-making plant on Riverside Drive on Friday.

The employees had been working without a contract since Sept. 30, but Silgan barred them from the plant Wednesday evening. They’ve been picketing the 567 S. Riverside Drive facility since then.

“Wages have been the main stickler in the contract ... but we’re fairly close on everything else,” said Larry Lund, the business agent for Teamsters union Local 948. “It’s baffling to us as to why they did this to their workers.”

Lund said Silgan and the Teamsters will resume negotiations Monday afternoon and continue them Friday.

Silgan operates three can-making plants and warehouses in Modesto and one in Riverbank. Each has its own union contracts.

This labor dispute involves the Riverside Drive plant that makes cans for Stanislaus Foods, Seneca and Del Monte canneries.

“This is the lowest-paid Silgan facility in this area,” said Lund, noting that workers there earn $23 to $27 per hour.

Silgan Containers is part of Silgan Holdings, which is a publicly traded international company that reported strong earnings in 2011 and 2012. Its sales last year topped $3.6 billion, and it operates about 89 manufacturing plants on four continents. Silgan makes roughly half of all metal food containers in the United States. It is among Stanislaus County’s largest private employers.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jnsbranti@modbee.com or (209) 578-2196.

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