Locked out Armstrong employees face Friday deadline

The clock is ticking for 260 union employees of Armstrong World Industries.

The company has given workers at its Marietta plant until 5 p.m. Friday to vote on its final contract proposal offered Monday, a day after imposing a lockout, but the employees continue to sweat it out on the picket line.

Leaders of Unit 441 of United Steelworkers Local 285 said they already have their answer, and it's “no.”

“We asked the members whether they wanted to consider the company's last, best final offer, or do you want us to go back to the table and continue negotiating,” union leader Tom Jones said. “The membership wanted us to go back to the table and continue negotiating.”

Armstrong spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said in a statement that the company is “disappointed and frustrated the union chose to let the opportunity to ratify the July contract offer and end the lockout pass.”

Johnson said an offer to restore wages and benefits lost as a result of the lockout if the lockout ends this week is still on the table.

She added that the plant remains open and continues to meet customer obligations. In the coming days, she said, the company plans to “ramp up to full production.”

The union has filed a lawsuit claiming unfair labor practices and has produced a counter offer, but no new bargaining sessions have been scheduled.

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