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Striking Cap Makers Nix Proposal

June 25, 2002

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DERBY, N.Y. (AP) _ Production workers at New Era Cap Co.’s Derby plant have rejected a proposed contract agreement approved by union leaders earlier this month, extending the 11-month strike.

The workers voted 99-73 Monday against the four-year proposal, which included a 4 percent increase in base wages.

Jane Howard, president of Communications Workers of America Local 14177, called the vote disappointing and said the union has scheduled a meeting for Friday with the company, which supplies caps for Major League Baseball.

New Era said in a statement that it was unfortunate that no final contract came as a result of the lengthy negotiations between the two sides. The Derby plant is one of four New Era production facilities and the only one on strike.

About 220 workers walked off the job last July 16 after New Era implemented new production quotas that the union said would have cut $3 from the average worker’s earnings of $12 per hour. Eighty other workers opted not to strike.

The company has contended that some workers would make more money under the new standards. Company officials said the Derby plant must raise its production levels to remain competitive.

New Era also has a plant in Buffalo and two in Alabama, employing a total of more than 1,500 people.

In addition to being the exclusive cap supplier for Major and Minor League Baseball, the privately held New Era also makes and markets caps under license of the NBA, NHL and colleges and universities.

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