For immediate release
January 14, 2005
1,000 Cone Mills hourly employees at the historic White Oak facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, have received a 2% across the board wage increase along with enhancements to retirement benefits. Employees who invest up to 3% of earnings into their 401(k) accounts will receive a 100% match from the Company. The next 2% of contributions will net a 50% match.
Employees at the White Oak plant have been represented for over half a century by UNITE HERE and its predecessor unions. Union and Company representatives have been engaged in the current round of wage and benefit negotiations since mid October. A tentative agreement was reached on January 11 and was ratified by workers in a series of shift meetings which concluded on January 13.
“It is extremely significant that Cone Mills employees have received these increases in an era when the domestic textile industry is in decline due to ill considered trade agreements,” said Phil Cohen, UNITE HERE Special Projects Coordinator. “The Union and Company have worked together to develop creative strategies to not only keep the White Oak plant viable, but to add 200 jobs in the past year, and now to increase the standard of living for employees both in the present and future.”
During the fall of 2003, Cone Mills entered into bankruptcy and was purchased by investor Wilbur Ross. Ross merged Cone Mills with previously acquired Burlington Industries to form International Textile Group. Employees at the White Oak facility are engaged in the manufacture of denim.