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Local 1135 Makes
Gains in Third
Contract with Tulip

MILWAUKEE

Local 1135 members overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with Tulip Corp. on Dec. 11, 1998, gaining significant improvements in wages, retirement savings contributions, and safety. This is the third collective bargaining agreement between the union and the company; Tulip workers produce plastic molded products.

Wages increase in the first year by 3.2 percent (but not less than 30 cents). The second and third years will see wage increases of 2.8 percent in each year. The shift premium also goes up — for the first time in over 20 years — adding about another .5 percent to the average shop wage increase.

Cover-robot workers and truck drivers receive a premium of 25 cents. The safety shoe allowance goes up by $15 to $75.

The contribution made by the company into employees’ 401(k) accounts increases from a match of 1% to 20 percent.

Workers’ share of family and employee medical and dental insurance decreases from 29 to 26 percent; the share of single coverage decreases from 26.6 to 26 percent. The employees’ share of all medical and dental insurance decreases to 25 percent.

Life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment goes up by $1,000 /year, bringing the total benefit to $14,000. The maximum sickness and accident benefit rises from $200 to $220 the first year, to $230 the second year and to $250 the third year.

SAFETY ON THE LINE

Safety in the plant is improved by the agreement to rotate workers on the "end of the line." These fast-paced and highly repetitive jobs have been the cause of repetitive stress injuries. Fin. Sec. Christine Crooks participated in the negotiations with a cast on her arm from a surgery to correct an injury sustained on the end of the line.

Local 1135 negotiated improvements in contract language with regard to union representation: The union can request an extension of time limits in order to investigate grievances; the company will respond to union grievances in detail; officers will stay in the plant during layoffs.

The contract also contains improvements in seniority rights: Employees on layoff will be able to bid on jobs; employees on layoffs for more than three months can down-bid back into the plant and bump temporary employees.

ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP

The agreement was helped along by the active participation of the membership in the shop. As the deadline neared and the two sides were still far apart on economics, members expressed their dissatisfaction with the company by blowing whistles throughout the shop every hour on the hour. The racket so rattled the company that they threatened to discipline anyone that continued to blow whistles after the agreement was concluded! Since there would be no need to continue concerted activities after negotiations the committee understood this to be a threat.

The local was represented by Pres. Shirley Harrison, Chief Steward Bernice Campbell, Tool Room Representative George Petz, and Financial Secretary Christine Crooks. They were assisted by UE Field Org. Tom Ellett.

UE News - 01/99


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