Teamsters settle with ProBuild
Striking workers at two ProBuild facilities in Chicagoland will return to work this week after Teamsters Union 673 agreed to end the walkout on Saturday. 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 on 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 between ProBuild and its unionized workers. Teamsters spokesman Roger Kohler did not return a request for comments on the settlement.
Lumber dealer runs for state office
Jeff Brandes, director of real estate holdings for Tibbetts Lumber, is running as a Republican against a Democrat incumbent in a swing district that was Republican six years ago, according to the FBMA newsletter. Brandes, the grandson of company founder Linton Tibbetts, hopes to become the next state representative for House District 52 in St. Petersburg.
Brandes served as an officer in the Army and was deployed to Iraq. Before launching his campaign, Brandes oversaw land issues for Tibbetts Holdings domestically and in the Cayman Islands, where the company also has a location.
Home Depot execs hit the aisles
Home Depot is sending its executives into the stores on a regular basis to experience life in the field and figure out ways to improve operations, according to an article in the Atlantic Journal Constitution .
Approximately 170 employees from the company’s Atlanta headquarters were divided into teams of 10 and deployed to different stores this past summer, working one day a week in various departments. The 13-week program, called “Summer in the Stores,” will be followed by “Fall in the Field” and “Winter in the Warehouse” as other executives take their turn.
Cara Kinzey, senior VP information technology, told the newspaper that her stint in the paint department will save the retailer approximately $20 million a year in “oops” paint (wrong colors). Two changes — scanning base paint barcodes before mixing the paint and putting scanners next to every computer — will dramatically cut down on mistakes, Kinzey said.