BY KEVIN LILLY, Pharos-Tribune business writer

A strike at Transco Railway Products in Logansport would be bad for both sides.

Transco is already dealing with customers wanting to get their cars repaired somewhere else. Many members of the United Steelworkers Local 7-0007 would face extreme financial difficulties if they walk out.

Effects of the possible strike are already being felt. Plant manager Eric Nichols had to lay off 11 people Monday because he could not keep them busy. There is more than enough work to go around, but he said customers do not want repairs on their railway cars half finished if union workers walk out. So, he is forced to wait until the outcome of contract negotiations.

Nichols said health insurance is the sticking point. Transco has paid the insurance premiums from day one. The company is attempting to cut its costs and shift them to the employees. He declined to comment on the exact costs proposed.

"It's one of the perks," Jim Shaver, United Steelworkers Local 7-0007 member and former president, said.

Shaver said he would strike if he had to, but fears the loss of his home without a steady income.

"They have us over a barrel, and they know it."

Nichols says he may have to lay off more people in the next day or two if an agreement is not reached.

Union members meet today to decide what their next move is. Union president Mike Hall was unavailable for comment.

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