LIVONIA, Mich. - Let's be clear up front. Awrey's baked goods are as good as any you will find in Metro Detroit.
Awrey's not being alright comes from the fact that the century old bakery may very well be closing any day now. The night shift was sent home this afternoon after a union vote turned down a concessionary contract for the second time in four days. Now, I am told by the union there is no work at Awrey's Livonia facility tomorrow either.
The union telling me the most recent vote was 63 yes, 72 no to accept a two dollar an hour pay cut and agreeing not to work any overtime. What's more the union told me at least 25 workers are about to lose their jobs anyway. Now, you may wonder why anyone would vote to close down the company when you are only giving back two dollars an hour. Well, union workers like Tom Kurras say they have been giving back to the company for the past five years and they are at wits end and ready to just walk away.
Awrey's management is not talking about this situation and we are left to wonder how it will proceed. It took its vote last Sunday and six votes were the difference between yes and no that time. The vote was no though. Management apparently decided to give union workers another chance to say yes. They did not. The threat was to shutter the plant on Friday if the votes came out the way they did.. Will Awrey's management, who clearly are in a deep financial hole, make good on the threat? Customers we spoke with today certainly hope not. One customer at the thrift store said of Awrey's "It's a tradition, this is the best bakery there was, is, should be." He has it right, we don't know where this is headed but it's not looking particularly good. The thrift store was jammed today with customers buying Bumpy Cakes, Corn Toasties and Danish. Heck, I bought an armful of baked goods as props for my live shot and it cost a mere $13.
Perhaps that's the real problem. I suspect the thrift shop will be jammed tomorrow.
As I have written previously, it is a very sad sight to see Michigan's old stalwart, small business names disappearing. For all the hope we see in the auto business we still find ourselves losing important brands and local manufacturers whose reputation were earned over a century of ups and downs.
It's the sad state of Michigan. We hope this is the end, realizing it probably is not.
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