"We want to work, we want to work."
This is the plea of union employees of El Dorado's Milbank Manufacturing Company after showing up to work only to find that the company had locked its doors. The union employees and Milbank management weren't able to come to an agreement on the workers' benefits package. And its company policy that if an agreement isn't reached between both parties, a lockout occurs
"At first it was sort of shocking. We already knew that they would lock people out, but this is the first time that it ever happened to us."
"They said that we're a family and that the company we're all a family, well you don't treat your family like that."
The employees say that although an agreement couldn't be reached on their high insurance premiums something that cancels out whatever raises they received from the company, they never voted to strike. And with them not being able to go to work, it will cause a financial burden on them and their families.
"I'm the primary bread winner. I provide the insurance for me and my wife and my two kids and myself and it's going to put a strain on everything."
"Living and paying my bills and everything, I'm going to have to make due. Watch what I'm doing until we're able to go back to work."
Company officials say they offered competitive raises and benefits to their union employees and the CEO says "we are very disappointed with the union's failure to ratify a fair contract." In the meantime, the employees say that they still want to work and continue to negotiate an agreement at the same time.
"We tried to come to work. They had the building locked off and law enforcement here to turn us away. We want to come to work and continue negotiating."
The employees met with their union representative and right now no agreements have been reached with the company. So the lockout continues. Until then, employees say they will continue to stand outside day and night until the doors are opened for them to return to work. Brea Douglas, NBC 10 News.