Teamsters settle with ProBuild in Chicagoland

Striking workers at two ProBuild facilities in Chicagoland returned to work last month after Teamsters Union 673 agreed to end the walkout on Sept. 18. 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 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.

Teamsters spokesman Roger Kohler declined extended comment, saying: “It was a contentious strike, and I don’t want any issues with [ProBuild]. I just want my guys back to work.”