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Union Members
At Stepan Convince
New Manager
On Contract


A spirited and determined Local 1421 membership at Stepan Co ...
A spirited and determined Local 1421 membership at Stepan Co. organized for a contract with solid improvements.

When new Stepan Co. managers sought takeaways, an active and determined membership successfully delivered the message that workers at this chemical plant expected substantial improvements in their contract. Stepan workers, members of amalgamated UE Local 1421, achieved substantial wage and pension increases and an end to mandatory overtime in a new agreement that took effect Nov. 16.

"I feel we did very well," Chief Steward Bryan Martindale tells the UE NEWS. Adding to the sense of accomplishment are wage increases considerably higher than raises received by some management personnel.


Wages will increase by 4, 3.5 and 3 percent, a cumulative straight-time hourly increase of more than $2.35. At contract expiration in November 2003, wage rates will range from $20.67 to $24.60. Shift differentials will be raised from 50 to 65 cents and from 60 to 75 cents. The contract ends the annual attendance bonus and raises the monthly bonus from $50 to $100. Workers can be tardy twice a month without loss of the attendance bonus.

A 35-percent increase takes the pension multiplier from $27.50 to $37 a month. The service cap is raised from 30 years to 35 years.

Stepan agrees to provide company-paid accidental death and dismemberment coverage to each employee. Under the contract, annual physicals will be taken outside working hours and workers will be paid for three hours. The annual safety shoe allowance is increased from $150 to $170.

Local 1421 members secured significant changes in contract language, including elimination of mandatory overtime and improved union leave. Training time is increased from 60 to 90 days for job bid transfers and recall placements. Floating holidays will be individually scheduled by workers. Severance pay is increased to 15 weeks’ pay for 15 years or more of service. Bereavement leave is expanded to include grandchildren and spouse’s grandparents.


The UE negotiating committee rejected and resisted proposed takeaways, including a lengthened probation period, shortened union leave, and a four-year contract.

"I have been a member of the negotiating committee at Stepan for 21 years and this contract negotiation was one of the toughest," says Chief Steward Martindale. In addition to the takeaways, the union committee faced a new corporate human resources director. "For the last 20 years we had been dealing with the same HR people, which made things a little easier every time," Martindale points out. "This was also a first, but because of rock solid support from our members, they were not able to take anything from us."

Adding to the effort, Martindale says, was "a very good support committee" that mobilized membership support. An energized membership made use of lots of stickers and buttons, and a petition supporting the negotiating committee


Early one morning workers’ cars "invaded" the management’s front spaces in the parking lot, armed with messages on poster boards. All of this drew a big reaction from corporate and plant negotiators — who drew the blinds rather than look out at the union’s message all day.

The UE negotiating committee consisted of Martindale, Gary Edwards and Keith Mills and was assisted by Intl. Rep. Leanna Noble. The committee acknowledges the assistance of UE Research Dir. Lisa Frank.

UE News - 2/02

Home -> UE News -> 2002 Archives -> Article

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