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Union says company will move work from China to Mississippi

AMORY — The United Steelworkers union says workers at the True Temper Sports plant in Amory have ratified a new contract with the sporting goods maker.

The 200 workers at the plant make steel tubes used in golf club shafts and other items by the company, based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Steelworkers District Director Daniel Flippo said Saturday that the contract includes a provision for True Temper to close a Chinese factory and move work to Amory, creating up to 50 new jobs in coming months and up to 100 jobs over the four-year life of the contract. About 200 people now work at the Amory plant.

“In a time of uncertainty, the USW and True Temper together have made the future more secure for workers in Amory,” Flippo said.

True Temper did not return requests for comment Friday.

Workers will get a $1,250 bonus for ratifying the contract, plus raises of $1 an hour by the agreement’s end, Flippo said. He couldn’t immediately say how much workers in Amory now make.

The union agreed to a lower wage tier for new workers hired to do the work being brought back from China. Flippo said the contract called for quarterly meetings between the union and managers, and said union members hope to raise wages for lower-tier workers in the future.

The previous contract wasn’t supposed to end until July, but Flippo said the union and company agreed to negotiate a new agreement after managers told union officials that because of a downturn in demand for golf clubs, the company had too much capacity at its two plants.

True Temper filed for bankruptcy in 2009 as part of a plan to wipe out much of its debt. Investors put in $70 million to help the company emerge from bankruptcy.

The union agreed to a lower wage tier for new workers hired to do the work being brought back from China. Flippo said the contract called for quarterly meetings between the union and managers, and said union members hope to raise wages for lower-tier workers in the future.

The previous contract wasn’t supposed to end until July, but Flippo said the union and company agreed to negotiate a new agreement after managers told union officials that because of a downturn in demand for golf clubs, the company had too much capacity at its two plants.

True Temper filed for bankruptcy in 2009 as part of a plan to wipe out much of its debt. Investors put in $70 million to help the company emerge from bankruptcy.

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