FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Picketing continues in front of Exide Technologies in Fort Smith following an employee “lockout”.
Exide Technologies, formerly known as GNB Technologies on Zero Street, has more than 200 employees.
The picketing comes after 119 hours of contract negotiations. The union representing these workers and Exide Technologies couldn’t reach an agreement.
Monday night (April 24), workers were told they’d be locked out due to employees not agreeing to work under conditions of the company’s final offer. Dozens of employees began picketing Tuesday (April 25), asking for fair wages and better benefits.
“We want fair health benefits. Not only for us, but for our families. We work in a lead contaminated area. Not only lead, but cadmium, arsenic, sodium hydrate, just to touch the tip of the iceberg,” said Maintenance Technician Karl Thornell.
“We are the main supplier of the battery that supplies our United States Naval Fleet. But yet, employees that pay the bills here, that pay the salaries, we do all that. We do the work, they collect, and we get nothing,” Thornell added.
Exide released a statement that said, “Negotiations are ongoing. Until they are complete Exide will not be able to comment.”
Stay with 5NEWS as this story continues to develop.