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Gain $1.57 over Four Years at Kennedy Valve—
This Foundry
Got Hotter
During Negotiations

ELMIRA, N.Y.

Local 329 Negotiating Committee
The Local 329 negotiating committee, from left Bill Coletta, Kevin Elmquist, Tom Dininny, Sab DePrimo and Scott Stermer.

The Kennedy Valve foundry was hotter than usual as the 90 members of UE Local 329 signaled their opposition to institution of a continuous shift operation scheme.

Local 329 members, foundry employees of the Kennedy Valve division of McWane Inc., ratified a new four-year contract on June 27. The UE local’s negotiations were coordinated with two International Association of Machinists locals which represent Kennedy Valve’s machine shop workers and patternmakers. All three agreements expired together, and the two IAM locals ratified similar four-year agreements.

The new contract calls for general wage increases totaling $1.57 over the contract term. Foundry workers will receive 50 cents the first year, 40 cents the second year, 35 the third and 32 the fourth. Second and third shift workers will realize an additional 10 cents per hour in increased shift premium pay. These increases represent more than 3.2 percent for day shift and 3.975 percent for second and third shift workers per year. The average hourly foundry wage prior to the increase was $12.27.

Local 329 members will see their pension multiplier increase by $3 in the first year to $24 per years of service. These UE members will continue to contribute nothing towards their health insurance and will see their out-of-pocket deductibles decrease $100; single coverage will be $100, family coverage decreases to $200 yearly aggregates. The lifetime maximum increases by $100,000 to $300,000.

The contract contains favorable language improvements with regard to qualifications for holiday pay, an increase in the number of employees allowed to take vacation at any one time and union leave of absence.

The company’s proposals for the elimination of premium pay after eight hours a day and on weekends and institution of continuous operations threatened a peaceful settlement. The UE committee refused to accept the continuous operation scheme, knowing it couldn’t work as proposed by the company. The members also sent the message that they weren’t interested in giving up their premium pay. T-shirts with the UE insignia and words "Strike 98" were worn during the final week of negotiations. Local 329 members, who were on strike for a month to gain a fair contract three years earlier, let management know they were not afraid to set up picket lines again.

In the end, one job classification (core center) was placed on a continuous shift schedule, but not before the UE committee greatly improved on the company’s plan. The schedule calls for two twelve-hour shifts, Friday through Sunday, with half-hour paid lunches so employees work 34.5 hours and receive 40 hours’ pay. Time and one-half will be in effect after 40 hours while Wednesdays and Thursdays will mean double-time. Recognizing that hours worked beyond 12 lead to fatigue and injury, the UE committee forced the company to agree that employees cannot work beyond their shift regardless of pay.

The other union will have more classifications under continuous operation.

The Local 329 negotiating committee consisted of Pres. Tom Dininny, Vice Pres. Sabato DePrimo, Chief Stewards Bill Coletta and Kevin Elmquist, and Rec. Sec. Scott Stermer. They were assisted by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple.

UE News - 07/98


Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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