Employees picket Silgan Containers in response to lockout

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PARIS, Tex. (KXII) -- "Last Saturday, everybody got a phone call that said don't come to work, you're locked out," said Carla Stowe, a 32-year employee of the canning company.

Silgan canning has been negotiating with union workers since October to reach a contract both can agree on, but the lockout came as a surprise.

"You just don't think it's ever coming," said Gary Owens, Executive Vice President of the Local 540 UFCW.

The union calls this lockout unfair.

"They're not allowing us to work. We didn't walk away, we didn't quit, we didn't strike. We want to work," said Stowe.

With nothing else to do, workers are signing up for shifts and standing around the clock outside the gate of their workplace with signs begging the company to come back to the table.

"We've made all the necessary arrangements, you know, we've had meetings with the people. So right now, we're waiting for the company to get back with us because we have put a picket line up on the back gate back there for Silgan Can Company," said Owens.

The uncertainty of their next paycheck has employees worried.

"The fact that we have been locked out, we can draw unemployment. Everybody's been trying to get that set up this week," said Stowe.

They say they want a cost of living adjustment to their pay and to keep their overtime opportunities.

The workers said Silgan won't hear of it.

"We would like to have a contract with them. I mean, most of us have been here a long time. We'd like to retire out of here," said Stowe.

Workers say they'll be there with signs until they can get back on the job.

"We just want to work. We want a fair and honest contract. We're willing to sit down and get that.," said Stowe.

Silgan declined to return our calls for comment on this story.

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