Union Protests Planned Merck Job Cuts

RAHWAY—Members of the U.S. Steelworkers, Local 4-575, staged a protest outside Merck’s Rahway facility in opposition against the company’s plans to cut as many as 178 jobs held by union members.

The union is currently negotiating a new contract with the drug maker. The current three-year contract expires at the end of April.

Jim Conway, the union president, said Merck wants to contract a California-based management service to provide workers who will replace permanent employees. “It’s just an attempt to do away with good-paying American jobs,” he said.

Merck did not comment on the specifics of negotiations, but said that the company is negotiating in good faith with the union.

“Merck’s principle objective is to reach an agreement that allows our sites to grow, compete and succeed in a tough business environment,” said spokeswoman Amy Rose. “These negotiations are critical to that end.”

Merck reported a $7.8 billion net profit in 2008.

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