The sale and shutdown of Mash's Inc. meat-processing plant earlier this month has led to the layoff of its employes, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
When Nathan Mash sold the Landover company to Terrence Conway on July 17, Mash closed the plant and terminated all of Mash's 150 employes.
"Nathan Mash wanted to retire," said Al Zlotorzynski, plant manager for Mash's, which sells Mash's ham and beef products and Briggs franks and sausages. Conway, owner of John T. Handy Co. Inc., a soft shell crabs processing firm in Crisfield, bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
Conway plans to reopen that plant, but he said he had not set a date. Conway said he has not hired any hourly employes to replace those fired, but he has rehired most of the Mash's former management staff. "They have an excellent management team," Conway said.
"I am evaluating prospective employes on an objective basis, and I may end up without any or all of Mash's former workers."
"They were terminated by the company's former owner," Conway said. "I just bought the assets of Mash Inc."
One labor official who would not comment if his name were used, said closing the plant and firing the union workers was a way to get rid of the union when the plant reopens.
"I have the legal right to look for and employ the best work force I can find at wage rates competitive with my competitors," responded Conway when asked whether he was trying to get rid of the union.
After the closing, Conway and Mash each sent letters to all Mash employes. Mash's letter said the company had been sold and employment was terminated. Conway's letter said in part: "We are assembling the best possible work force to ensure a bright and profitable future for our new company. If you are quality oriented and would like to be be considered for employment, I encourage you to make an application... ."
Conway is offering all processing people, such as meat trimmers and hangers, $5.50 per hour; maintainance people who work on the machines $10.50 an hour; and office personnel between $12,000 and $17,000 per year, according to Zlotorzynski.
It was the first most Mash's employes had heard about the sale.
"There were rumors circulating for a long time, but we never knew when it was going to happen," said a meat trimmer.
"My job folded up, everything folded up, and I didn't even know about it until the letter came," said Donald Castle of Baltimore, who worked as a Mash meat trimmer for three years.
"I have three kids, a wife and lots of bills and creditors to pay," said another meat trimmer. "I worked for the company for eight years, was earning $9.49 per hour, and now the new management is offering me $5.50."
Al Zack, director of publications and media at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said the average hourly wage for pork packing plants is between $8.75 and $10.50. "Swift pays $10.10 an hour, Hormell $10.25, and Smithfield is trying to negotiate a wage concession of $8.75 an hour at its Cudahy plant in Wisconsin," said Zack.
The United Food and Commercial Workers represented Mash's employes. "We do not think what Mash has done is legal," said Zack. "We will challenge it."
The union filed for a temporary restraining order in Baltimore last Wednesday that was denied. The union has taken no further formal actions against the company.
Conway began negotiations to purchase Mash's in March. "It is a solid company with a high quality product. I think its low-salt meats appeal to health-conscious consumers," he said. "I did not know whether Mash employes knew about the negotiations."
The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) last week delivered a $2.55 million check to the Enterprise Foundation to fund a housing renewal program in New York City. The check was the first installment in Fannie Mae's $28 million equity investment in the $70 million program.
This program begins at the community level. Small interest groups apply to the New York city government to repair vacant buildings in one of a dozen sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Once granted the building, these groups find financing with the help of the Enterprise Foundation -- a nonprofit organization that matches corporate funds to low-income housing projects.
Enterprise attracts corporate investments through a tax credit to investors in low-income housing. Under the 1986 tax bill, the federal government will return 90 percent of the cost of a low-income housing project undertaken by a corporation by granting the company a 9 percent annual tax credit for 10 years.
Enterprise helps community groups by working with the groups on construction plans and technical and financial problems.
The New York Housing Assistance Program, the New York State Housing Trust Fund and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development are also contributing investors in the project.
Fannie Mae has invested more that $1.5 billion in other special low-income and homeless housing projects since 1984. This includes $15 million to rehabilitate 300 homes in Washington.
In August, a nuclear safety team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, will visit the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, owned by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., in Lusby. It will be the first visit of an IAEA operational safety review team to a U.S. nuclear plant.
IAEA review teams are sent out to make objective assessments of the safety practices used in nuclear power plants from an international perspective. "The Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union pointed up the importance of nuclear safety to all countries," said Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Lando W. Zech Jr. "We are pleased to compare our safety practices with those of other countries, in the hope it will contribute to a higher level of nuclear power plant safety worldwide."
The Department of Defense awarded Survival Technology Inc. of Bethesda options worth about $9 million on its present contracts for production of military automatic injectors.
Survival Technology manufactures medical devices for emergency care. It makes automatic prefilled syringes to defend against the effects of harmful chemicals, equipment to monitor cardiac patients, and products used by ambulance and rescue squads.
Under the contract, Survival Technology will make AtroPen and ComboPen automatic injectors and Mark I Antidote Kits. AtroPen and ComboPen contain nerve gas antidotes atropine and pralidoxine chloride. The Mark I kit combines AtroPen and ComboPen in a single package so that both items can be used quickly.
The injectors can be used by men in combat to treat the damaging effects of chemical warfare. Shipments are expected to begin in August.
Vitro Corp. in Silver Spring won a $7.5 million, three-year contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command. The contract is a continuation of Vitro's work designing weapon systems and computer programs for the New Threat Upgrade program, which upgrades weapon systems in Tartar cruisers and destroyers.
Vitro has been constructing and modifying systems in the Tartar fleet for 25 years. Under this contract, Vitro's Tartar Systems department and its Embedded Systems Department will design software for the weapons direction system computer programs and integrate hardware and software at test sites.