Local 1135 Makes
Gains in Third
Contract with Tulip
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
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
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.
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.