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UE Moves Forward
In Negotiations
With Circuit-Wise

President, UE Local 299


The UE Local 299 negotiating committee ...
The UE Local 299 negotiating committee which recently concluded negotiations with Circuit-Wise. From left, Carlos Zayas, Linda Thiel, Marion DeMaio, Willie Vasquez, Dorothy Johnson, Tina Jendrzewski and Marion Lattaker. Unavailable for the photo were Kathy Bridges, Bessie Huckaby and Charles Provite.

The members of amalgamated UE Local 299 employed by Circuit-Wise voted on May 13 to accept a four-year agreement with Circuit-Wise. To achieve this contract, union members had to let the company know from day one that they refused any givebacks — and they did: through strong, militant and loud rallies both inside and outside the plant, with informational picket lines, stickers and buttons, newsletters, honking car horns and blowing loud whistles throughout the shop.

In the tense, final days of negotiations, contract expiration was extended from May 5 to May 12. The negotiating committee went through the shop informing everyone that more noise was needed from the members — and that’s exactly what happened. Members shouted chants in the cafeteria, banged on the tables, set off their car alarms and blew loud whistled in unison. Their message to the company was clear: "We need more money in the pension plan!"

In addition, the company knew that UE’s many supporters outside the plant were ready and willing to join Circuit-Wise workers for a massive rally.

By the early morning of Saturday, May 13, the company president directed his chief negotiator to do whatever it took to get a contract. A tentative agreement was reached at 3:30 a.m.


The new contract contains wage increases of 3.5 percent the first year, 3 percent in the second year, 3.3 percent in the third year and 3 percent in the fourth year.

A major victory for the union came with the company’s agreement, for the first time, to put real money into workers’ 401(k) accounts. In the first year, the company will match each week $.50 on the dollar up to 1 percent of an employee’s weekly salary. In the second year, this improves to 2 percent of salary, and in the third and fourth years it rises to 3 percent. The company has resisted such contributions from the first.

The union won improvements in other areas important to its members.

Circuit-Wise will address long-standing health and safety problems in the plant. An outside expert will study and fix heating, cooling and air-quality problems. The company also agrees to changes in workstations to minimize the risk of repetitive motion disorders, a major problem at Circuit-Wise.

In addition, the contact contains less restrictive language for leaves of absence, a big issue for many of members who are recent immigrants.

The new agreement also increases life insurance, short-term disability and the safety shoe allowances.

The Local 299 negotiating committee consisted of Pres. Dorothy Johnson, Vice Pres. Tina Jendrzewski, First Chief Steward Marion DeMaio, Second Chief Steward Kathy Bridges, Stewards Willie Vasquez, Carlos Zayas, Charles Provite, and Bessie Huckaby, Shop Committee member Marion Lattaker, and Contract Support Committee members Linda Thiel and Ben Young. They were assisted by UE Field Org. Mark Meinster.

UE News - 06/00

Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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