Repulses Fourth Shift
In a heated contract battle with General Cable Corp., Local 1014
pulled together to defeat a national, company-wide campaign to implement continuous
operations at the expense of workers family lives and pocketbooks.
The company presented the Local 1014 negotiating committee with a set of
proposals that would have had people work 12-hour shifts, including every other weekend,
for straight time. In addition, the company called for a series of contract language
takeaways that would have gutted over thirty years of struggle for union rights and member
General Cable had already faced a strike by IAM Local Lodge 526 members in
Plano, Texas, and a near-strike by UE Local 223 members in Taunton, Mass., both mainly
over the fourth shift issue.
Meanwhile, the Local 1014 membership had its sights on more flexibility
and freedom in the use of both paid and unpaid time off and wage and pension increases, as
well as many other improvements.
A strong negotiations support committee came together with representation
from across the plant and all three shifts, including several new hires. Members wore
stickers and plastered their cars with signs.
By the end of the week, members were engaging in "practice"
picketing. And on the last day, members stormed the negotiations to let the company
representatives know the negotiating committee had their full support.
A leader of United Steelworkers Local 6222 from the General Cable plant in
Cass City, Mich. joined the UE table. Debbie Elliot brought copies of petitions sent to
management that supported the UE locals contract fight. A solidarity message came
from the IAM local in Plano, Texas.
This support and, above all, the solid unity of Local 1014, allowed a
tentative agreement to be achieved in the early morning of Dec. 8, just hours after the
expiration of the previous contract. Later that day, the tentative agreement was ratified
overwhelmingly, 108 to 4.
9.7% Wage Increase
The new contract provides for a 9.7 percent wage increase over the three
years of the contract, as well as an additional 61 cents per hour for tandem operators.
Local 1014 succeeded in beating back the fourth shift, while gaining more
flexibility in the use of vacation.
Pension multiplier increases of $1 each year will yield $23.50 in 1999. In
addition to insurance improvements, Local 1014 members gain locked-in health premiums
until 1999 and continuance of all insurance benefits for up to six months while on medical
The contract adds paid bereavement days for grandparents-in-law and
brother/sisters-in-law, increased recall rights and an additional union bulletin board.
The shoe allowance is increased to $100 a year.
Leading the fight were Negotiating Committee members Joe Chavez, Maria
Gonsalez, Alejandro Coronado, Clinton Moon and Mark Falcon, who served as Chief
Spokesperson in negotiations. Gene McQuig served as alternate, and Chief Steward David
Combs played a special support role at the table. Intl. Rep. Leanna Noble and Field Org.
Fernando Losada provided support from the National Union.