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RAHWAY—Members of the U.S. Steelworkers, Local 4-575, staged a protest outside Merck’s Rahway facility in opposition against the company’s plans to cut as many as 178 jobs held by union members.

The union is currently negotiating a new contract with the drug maker. The current three-year contract expires at the end of April.

Jim Conway, the union president, said Merck wants to contract a California-based management service to provide workers who will replace permanent employees. “It’s just an attempt to do away with good-paying American jobs,” he said.

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