Costs in New Contract
Local 269 members employed at the Erving paper mill gave 100
percent endorsement to a new contract that met their goals with regard to
wages, pension and control of health insurance costs.
The UE local union represents two units at Erseco, the
waste-water plant and the maintenance crew.
The three-year agreement raises wages by 60 cents plus 3
percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3 percent again the
third year. The average wage increase in the first year is $1; the average
wage prior to the increase was $14.49 an hour.
The pension benefit increases $2 over the contract term, by 50
cents the first year, 75 cents the second year and 75 cents the third year.
The multiplier will rise to $18.50 in the third year.
Health insurance costs were a major issue in negotiations. The
previous contract stated that the company would pay the first 4 percent of any
premium increase and the company and employee would split the remainder 50/50.
This year, insurance costs went up 25 percent, a significant increase. The
weekly rates going into bargaining were $9.44 for single and $21.91 for family
coverage. Workers will see the current rates frozen in the second year. In the
third year, the company will pay the first 5 percent. This represented a big
victory, given the difficulty in negotiating health insurance.
The Local 269 negotiating committee consisted of Steve
Condery, Dave Farnum, Don Keith and Roger Laffond.
UE News - 05/01