Saunders Companies prepare for sale, workers told to reapply

Local News

Workers at the Saunders Companies have been told they’ll have to reapply for their jobs once a sale of the operation is complete this summer.

A spokesperson for Texas-based Lehigh Hanson confirms that they have a deal to acquire all operational assets of Saunders Companies, which are spread across Central New York.

Saunders Companies is a large local concrete producer with a main office in Nedrow. Business cards at the reception desk list locations in Cortland, Ithaca, Marcellus, and Norwich – among others.

“We look for companies that are similar in nature, that have similar products as we do and that could integrate in our business and help us reach markets that maybe we can’t,” said Lehigh Hanson Corporate Communications Director Jeff Sieg.

Sieg said he believes about 120 people work for Saunders Companies in the region.

Employees say a letter signed by President Tracy Saunders states that Lehigh Hanson representatives will be on site at Saunders’ facilities during the week of June 26, 2017.

“It is our understanding that, at that time, they will be explaining the opportunities for employment with Lehigh Hanson, the job applications process and the term of employment to be included in any job offers, and taking applications from Saunders’ employees who wish to be considered for employment with Lehigh Hanson under those terms,” the letter states.

The terms are still a mystery to many workers and their union, Teamsters Local 317, which represents a portion of the Saunders Companies workforce.

“We’ve been told our current contract for employees at Saunders companies will not be recognized in the sale. We hope that changes moving forward and that our members are a priority in the hiring process,” said Teamsters Local 317 President Duane Wright.

Employees note that the letter signed by Tracy Saunders, indicates that there will be changes in terms, including retirement benefits.

The Saunders Companies has 13 fixed plants, two portable mixed concrete plants and nine aggregate operations according to an announcement by Lehigh Hanson.

As with any acquisition, Sieg says plans for the future are a work in progress.

“We see where there are synergies, we see where there are overlaps, if any. In some cases, that means we may close a location or we may eliminate some jobs. In some cases, not,” he says. “It’s really a case by case basis.”

The company expects to close on the deal during the third quarter.

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