Aurora About 120 members of United Steelworkers Local 8565 employed at Rotek Inc. went on strike Friday, according to a company spokeswoman.

Members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 at the Aurora facility have elected to strike beginning Jan. 18, according to Roteks Kellie Harris. The plant is located at 1400 S. Chillicothe Road. Product shipments will continue on schedule as the company continues discussions with union representatives.

However, Bill Hyslop, president of Local 8565, said Friday, We are not on strike, we were forced out.

Contract negotiations were declared at an impasse by the company and instead of taking a forced concessionary contract which includes a 20 percent to 30 percent pay cut, the membership walked out, Hyslop said.

The contract expired Nov. 1 and the sides have been negotiating since October, he said.

We offered to continue negotiating under the current contract and take a [salary] freeze, he said.

The company is not planning to bring in new labor to meet commitments to our customers, Harris said.

We are disappointed that approximately 120 members of the United Steelworkers Local Union 8565 have elected to conduct a strike, Harris said.

For more, see Wednesday's Aurora Advocate.