In 2009, the Ebara-Elliot Co. in Jeannette was on the verge of closing its local facility after nearly 100 years of operation.
But due to the efforts of a small team of members of the United Steelworkers Union Local 1145, the company decided to stay put and today is considered a global leader in the design, manufacture and service of technically advanced steam turbines, centrifugal compressors, power recovery expanders and axial compressors used in the petrochemical, refining, oil, gas and power industries.
It is with this in mind that the Westmoreland County Labor Council chose the Elliot union team to be among those honored Sunday at its 26th Annual Labor Recognition Night at Lakeview Restaurant in Hempfield. Each year, the council, representing AFL-CIO labor unions, recognizes labor and government representatives who have made significant contributions to the labor movement.
"They are truly a great group of guys" whose efforts turned the company around, said Harriet Ellenberger of the council.
Members of the team are: Allen Rudick, union unit president; Denny Kowach, seniority/outsourcing chairman; Mark McKlveen, unit secretary; Bruce Brinker, president of Union Local 1145; Tim Wilkinson, grievance chairman; and William Held, former president of SEIU 2380, which represents the company's clerical workers.
"We're kind of embarrassed," said Mr. Rudick about the honor. "When we took over, we just wanted to save our jobs."
According to Mr. Rudick, the team took over union representation at Elliott after it was believed the company was planning to close the Jeannette facility. But, through a common pride in their work and work ethic, Mr. Rudick said the team decided to approach and work with company leaders to keep the facility here and get the manufacturer back on track.
While it's the union team that is being credited with the company's transition, Mr. Rudick said it could not have been done without the cooperation of Elliott CEO Yasuyuki Uruma, who moved from Japan, leaving his family behind, to assume control of the company's operations.
"He is truly a humble and good man," explained Mr. Rudick.
Also to be honored is Cheryl Long, an officer in SEIU HealthCarePA, and a longtime active member and trustee of the council. According to Mrs. Ellenberger, for many years, Mrs. Long has organized council delegates to work on political campaigns with door knocking, phone banks and mailings.
Recently retired Westmoreland County Judge John Driscoll has been chosen as the council's government honoree, who Mrs. Ellenberger said has long been a friend to the labor council and working families.
Special guests at Sunday's banquet are Steve Devine, a member of AFSCME 1474 who works for the Norwin School District and was second place winner of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Labor Essay Contest, and members of the Bots IQ Team from the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center. The team's robot, Pandemonium, was dubbed grand champion of the robot combat tournament held in May at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland
Linda Metz, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org. First Published October 17, 2013 1:07 AM