Majority of R.J. Reynolds production workers vote against union representation; vote count stands at 686 against union rep and 556 for collective bargaining rep

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina , October 21, 2011 () – A majority of production and maintenance workers for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. have voted against union representation, the company said Friday.

The subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. said that a preliminary count of ballots cast show workers chose not to be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Reynolds is the second-biggest U.S. cigarette company and makes Camel and Pall Mall brand products.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., company said the preliminary vote count stands at 686 against union representation and 556 for collective bargaining representation.

About 1,320 employees at the company's Tobaccoville and Whitaker Park cigarette manufacturing facilities in North Carolina were eligible to vote.

The National Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the vote in about seven days.

Tommy L. Hickman, senior vice president of operations, said in a news release that the vote ensures that the company will retain its advantage against competitors because it allows R.J. Reynolds to quickly address opportunities and challenges.

Plant workers at other tobacco companies like Philip Morris USA, Lorillard Tobacco Co., and Commonwealth Brands Inc. have union representation.

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