Local 1421 Reaches
Agreement with Kraco
LOS ANGELES, Calif.
Kraco workers, members of amalgamated UE Local 1421, reached agreement
with the Compton manufacturer of car stereos on Feb. 6 after first voting
overwhelmingly to reject a settlement because of proposed wage levels.
In the end, workers convinced Kraco to agreed to the best wage package in
some years. The four-year agreement contains hourly wage increases of 12 cents, 13 cents,
14 cents and 15 cents.
UE members succeeded in protecting their affordable health insurance. To
the last moment, the company sought to convert a dollar amount to percentages, a change
which would have cost workers anywhere from several cents to 30 cents an hour.
The union also defeated a company attack on the grievance procedure. UE
members fought long and hard but ultimately failed to force Kraco to drop its opposition
to a union-shop clause.
AN IMPROVED CONTRACT
Kraco workers gained better representation through a change in the number
of stewards. The rates of workers who have been working out of classification in
lower-rated jobs have been red-circled; the company had wanted to stick them with the
lower rates. Workers who are dismissed before completing the probationary period and are
rehired within six months can count their previous time worked towards their probationary
Thanks to the persistence of the UE negotiating committee, time off due to
maternity and other forms of leave will be counted toward the companys 10-year and
20-year longevity bonus. A number of Kraco workers will immediately qualify for these
bonuses as a result of this change in the contract.
Due to significantly improved contract language on health and safety, the
chief steward and area steward will accompany management on in-house inspections; workers
will have the right to shop working if their conditions are hazardous, with investigation
by the area steward; and the chief steward shall have the right to accompany OSHA and
Cal-OSHA officials during their inspections.
The company wanted to alter the hours of work; the contract now states
that any change in shifts must be mutually agreed to by the parties.
Although the number of employees has dropped significantly over the years
due to layoffs, the union successfully recruited new members, both long-term employees and
newer hires. This added strength became important as the workforce came together for the
most militant shop actions the company had seen in years.
UE members engaged in picketing and held rallies in and out of the plant
during lunches, and breaks and after work. As the company negotiating team emerged from a
bargaining session, they were greeted with a noisy demonstration and followed back to
their offices by a crowd of workers insisting on a decent settlement. A priest from the
local parish took part in a well-attended vigil. Union members silk-screened and wore
T-shirts in red and black, traditional Latin American strike colors, and carried red flags
at their rallies.
Following their vote to reject the first company proposal, workers marched
the offices of Kracos vice president and chief spokesperson, and told him the
companys proposal of four 11-cent pay increases was unacceptable.
Serving on the UE negotiating committee were Jose Reyes, Maria de Carmen
Serrano, Eva Rios, Arnulfo Witrago and Carlos Guevara. Serving on the Support Committee
were Maria Rios, Alfonsa Durante, Jose Gomez, Jose Jasso, Elia Perez, Ernesto Robles,
Maria Cruz, Ramona Perez, Imelda Villalobos, Oscar Florez, Altagracia Davilia, Francisco
Vasquez, Rosa Claro, Fidel Perez, Ramiro Quezada, Ines Barahona, Abelmira Beltran and Luz
Torrez. They were assisted by Field Org. Mario Brito and Intl. Rep. Leanna Noble.
UE News - 02/98