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Teamsters settle with ProBuild in Chicagoland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Striking workers at two ProBuild facilities in Chicagoland returned to work last month after Teamsters Union 673 agreed to end the walkout on Sept. 18. Terms of the new contract were not disclosed.

The settlement comes less than a week after the Denver-based LBM chain announced it was consolidating its three Chicago facilities into its Yorkville location Sept. 30, a move that will eliminate 40 positions. A wall and component manufacturing plant in Hampshire, Ill., opened July 2009, will be closed.

“Severance packages have been offered to all eligible employees, and some employees will have opportunities to work elsewhere within the ProBuild organization,” said company spokeswoman Carolyn Atkinson. She said the decision to downsize was not related to the strike.

“These changes are strictly business decisions related to the struggling Chicago home-building market,” Atkinson said. “They will allow us to operate more efficiently and continue to provide the same level of service for our customers. This area can no longer support three ProBuild facilities.”

Drivers and warehouse workers at ProBuild’s Wheaton and Yorkville lumberyards began picketing last July over a reduction in health benefits, a proposed 5% pay cut and other issues. A federal mediator had made little progress in negotiation sessions.

Teamsters spokesman Roger Kohler declined extended comment, saying: “It was a contentious strike, and I don’t want any issues with [ProBuild]. I just want my guys back to work.”

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Inside the home

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer research from The NPD Group connects the dots of appliance ownership in its most recent report, “Inside the Home: Appliances We Own & Use.”

According to the report, ownership in the major appliance category over-indexes among those who also own their home. However, homeownership does not fully predict who owns these products, nor who has recently purchased them. While one in four homeowners indicate having purchased a major appliance in the past 12 months, one in five renters have as well.

Here are some of the key findings: 

• Small kitchen electrics: The most owned and purchased products are often considered traditional countertop appliances, such as toasters, coffee makers, electric can openers and toaster ovens.

• Home environment appliances: The products used most often are those within the water filtration category, followed by upright vacuums. Close to half of upright vacuum owners are using their product once a week or more often.

• Hair appliances: Hair straightener owners are most likely to own other hair care appliances. Three-quarters of hair straighteners owners also own a curling iron or brush. The likelihood of a curling iron/brush owner to own a straightener is far less likely at 46%, however, a significant figure.   • Americans who have a refrigeration filtration system are least likely to own a pitcher, pour-through water filtration, or a faucet-mount device — just 18% and 15%, respectively.

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True Temper sale completed

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York-based Castle Harlan announced it has completed the sale of Ames True Temper to Griffon Corp. for $542 million.

“Our five-year plan for Ames True Temper Inc. was to expand the business, increase market share in the U.S., create international exposure and broaden product lines for distribution through our pipeline. We have done that and are pleased with the results. We wish the company continued success as part of the Griffon family,” said Castle Harlan co-president William Pruellage.

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