Prevails in 18-Day
Strike at Medin Corp
Medin workers overcame the employers unionbusting ploys.
Even as Local 404 members employed by the Medin Corp. were voting on Nov.
2 to reject the companys unionbusting proposals, guards were taking up positions
around the plant.
The strike was the latest phase of resistance to repeated employer
attempts to undermine and eradicate the union in recent years.
At the end of difficult negotiations last fall, the owner sent a fax in
which he agreed to take most of his unionbusting demands off the table if union members
agreed to a final offer that contained steep increases in insurance costs.
Medin workers decided instead to strike, and maintained picket lines for
Most workers lived in the neighborhood adjacent to the plant; most are
Mexican immigrants, although the workforce also includes some Dominicans and Puerto
Ricans. In the unusually balmy weather of early November 1998, strikers enjoyed
home-cooked tacos and enchiladas on the picket line.
Meanwhile, security guards guided strikebreakers into the plant. Mid-month
District One Pres. Connie Spinozzi restarted negotiations and helped to craft an
DEFEAT UNIONBUSTING DEMANDS
The contract calls for a wage increase of 3 percent or 20 cents, which
ever is higher, in the first year, and 3 percent or 25 cents in the second year.
The agreement grants four weeks of paid vacation after 15 years
service and three sick days per contract year.
In addition, the agreement improves job posting and bidding language,
guarantees higher pay in temporary transfers beginning the eleventh day and requires the
company to cover the costs of clothing damaged on the job.
The employer had wanted workers to pay 40 percent of any increases in the
cost of health insurance premiums. Instead, the company will pay 90 percent of any premium
increases the first year and 70 percent the second year.
Workers defeated the employers unionbusting demands; the new
contract creates a procedure that allows union representatives greater access to employees
during working hours.
The Local 404 negotiating committee at Medin included Enoch Mendoza,
Jose Arriaga, Walter Caraballo, Danilo Burgos and Carlos Uscocovich. They were
assisted by UE Field Org. Cris Costello, and in the final negotiations leading to a
settlement, UE District One Pres. Connie Spinozzi.