ON HOPEDALE STREET (Daily News photo by John F. Lemish)
                          Draper Workers Go On Picket Lines

                                                                    Firm Threatens to Leave  
                                                    Hopedale After Majority
                                                   Of Union Votes To Strike

      More than 300 workers milled around the Draper Division plant of Rockwell International in
    Hopedale today, to begin a strike that could shut down the textile manufacturing plant for good.

      The members of Local 6830, United Steelworkers of America, representing production workers,
    totaling 550, at the plant voted overwhelmingly last night to reject a company proposal asking
    workers to take a 9.1 percent pay cut.

      The vote was so lopsided union officials said, that no count was taken.  The vote was recorded at a
    dramatic 2 ½ hour meeting of the Steelworkers Union held at Davorin Auditorium at Milford High

      Workers were told by Paul Pagucci, Jr., president of the local Steelworkers Union, that if they voted
    to strike, the Hopedale plant would be permanently shut down

      He said he was told of this action by James A. Chandler, Jr. of Hopedale, manager of labor and
    community relations for Draper Division of Rockwell.

      Chandler has reportedly resigned his position with Draper and expects to leave the plant next

       According to Pagucci, the same warning also came from Louis Putze, vice president of the textile
    weaving machinery division based in Pittsburgh.

      Putze said the plant would close permanently in three to six months if the workers turned down the

     The final vote came at 8 last night, two hours after the production workers assembled. It was
    pointed out that the company plan would have cut about 50 cents an hour from workers' paychecks,
    amounting to about $20 a week for the average worker.

      The firm proposed to return to the workers next year 22 cents an hour, and in the second year the
    remainder of the 9.1 percent wage loss would have been, in a lump sum.

      Pagucci urged them to accept the contract, but the workers were not convinced.

      It was also learned that the company wants the cost-of-living clause stricken from a new contract.

      Earlier in the day on Sunday, maintenance workers Local 6686, covering 94 carpenters, plumbers,
    electricians and custodians, voted to go along with the company request of a pay cut. The vote
    among those present was nearly unanimous, it was reported, although no actual count was made.

      After the night vote by the larger local, the 550 production workers, the maintenance workers
    apparently joined forces and were on the picket lines today.

      The only personnel in the plant today were "a few foremen," according to a union spokesman.

      Contract negotiations were carried out for the production workers by Pagucci and Robert Dole, a
    state representative of the Steelworkers Union, and for the maintenance workers by Charles Saleski
    of Medway, president of the local.

      The general feeling at the Draper plant this morning was the strike was called because Rockwell
    officials would not indicate to the union that the company would remain in operation in the immediate
    future, even if workers approved their pay cut. Milford Daily News, September 20, 1976.  

Strike at Draper Corp in 1953                IWW/Draper Strike in 1913       

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