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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 5, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Hershey employees back deal that keeps chocolate plant in Pa.


Associated Press

HERSHEY, Pa. Unionized workers at two Hershey Co. hometown chocolate plants yesterday overwhelmingly approved a labor deal that could eliminate hundreds of jobs and leave just administrative offices in the original factory built by founder Milton Hershey.

Union members approved the deal because of the candy maker's promise to expand and modernize its newer West Hershey plant across town and because of its threat to move the project and jobs elsewhere if the union rejected it, a union official said.

"I think the members thought it was the only way to ensure the plant would be built here instead of somewhere else in the United States," said Diane Carroll, secretary/treasurer of Chocolate Workers Local 464.

The vote was 1,317 to 95, meaning some workers slated to lose their jobs still voted yes because it would save someone else's job, Carroll said.

The company's board of directors still must approve the expansion plan.

The Hershey Co., whose sweet treats include Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Milk Duds and Reese's peanut butter cups, could cut 500 to 600 jobs under the plan, which it says is necessary to remain competitive in a changing global market.

HONDA WORKERS END STRIKE AT CHINESE PARTS PLANT

DETROIT Honda Motor Co. said a labor dispute at a parts plant that has crippled the automaker's production in China was resolved yesterday.

The pay dispute at an engine and transmission factory touched off a two-week strike and forced Honda to shut down four Chinese assembly plants for lack of parts.

When a deal was reached earlier this week, employees at the parts plant agreed to return to work as of yesterday, but some were dissatisfied and threatened to walk out again to press for more money.

A Honda spokesman at the company's office in Torrance, Calif., said that all workers have agreed to a new offer and that the company expects no further work disruptions. "Now everyone's on board and everyone's working," he said. The strike highlighted tensions between workers and foreign companies that look to China for cheap labor and a fast-growing market amid weak demand elsewhere.