Unity (in 4 Languages) Crucial
OEM Workers Approve
It took a membership rejection, another meeting with the company and another vote for amalgamated UE Local 683 to obtain
membership approval on a three-year agreement in December with OEM/Erie.
The UE shop leadership at OEM began preparations months ahead of time to overcome a communication problem: two-thirds of
the 170 members in the plant dont speak English. Meeting notices, contract surveys and other communication with the membership had to
be in four languages.
The company began negotiations by proposing that employees start paying for their health insurance. The membership was
able to beat this back and continue insurance fully paid by the employer.
UNITY WAS KEY FACTOR
Unity displayed by OEM workers during the negotiations became a major factor in the negotiating committees ability
reach a package that gained membership approval.
The new contract contains wage increases of 36, 34 and 30 cents, immediate raises in the night shift bonuses and increases
in the disability payments and life insurance. Improvements in contract language on layoff notice, funeral leave, and vacations are among
The UE negotiating committee consisted of Local Vice Pres. Vicky Hoover, Nancy Mayer, Isabelle Laurie, Alice Amann,
April Wiseman and Milo Newton. They were assisted by UE Field Organizers Ron Flowers and Joe Corra.
UE News - 3/02