Local 766 Advances
Workers’ Rights, Wages,
Benefits at Ametek
Local 766 negotiated a wide range of improvements in the
collective bargaining agreement with Ametek/Westchester Plastics, with
enhancement of rights on the job — including an end to mandatory overtime
— and significant increases in wages and benefits.
Wages are increased by 4 percent the first year, 3 percent the
second year and 4 percent the third year. The shift premium is increased to 35
cents for the second shift, and to 45 cents for the third shift.
Double-time will be paid for all time worked between 48 and 56
hours. Local 766 asked for this provision because of the plastic resins plant’s
seven-day operation but its benefits are not limited to that schedule.
Currently no one is working a seven-day schedule; any Ametek worker whose
hours are covered by the new contract language will be paid double-time.
The minimum starting rate for new and part-time employees,
formerly a flat rate ($8.74 under the old contract) is now 70 percent of labor
grade VII to insure that these workers receive automatic increases.
If the employer doesn’t give at least a two-hour notice that
work is unavailable before the scheduled report-in time, affected employees
will now have the option of going home and receiving two hours’ pay or
staying and doing another type of work. If no work is available, they will get
four hours’ pay, under language continued from the previous contract.
Ametek workers expect a more efficient grievance procedure
since negotiations eliminated the biggest obstacle to fair resolution of shop
disputes — the plant manager. Not only had the plant manager routinely
denied virtually every grievance that reached his desk, he was regarded as
having created situations that led to hundreds of grievances over the previous
contract. The company agreed to remove the plant manager from the grievance
That’s the same plant manager who saw nothing wrong in
expecting a shift worker to go from work to jury duty and then report to for
work again that night. Local 766 thought there was a problem with that
scenario and argued in negotiations for a change. From now on, second and
third-shift workers who appear for jury duty will not be required to work
PAID TIME OFF
Among other improvements in the vacation plan negotiated by
the UE local, vacation hours will be counted as hours worked for the purpose
of computing vacation time; employees can now carry over three weeks’
vacation and take up to seven individual days of vacation, instead of the five
permitted by the previous agreement. The employer is required to notify the
union no later than March 31 of an impending summer shutdown for vacation
purposes. From now on, terminated employees will receive vacation pay.
Under the new contract, all sick leave is now personal leave
— workers can use paid time off either as sick days or as personal days,
without the requirement of doctor excuses. The previous agreement allowed for
32 hours of sick leave per year; the new contract calls for 48 hours of
personal leave. Paid bereavement leave of four days is expanded to include
A stronger seniority clause will protect workers from losing
seniority status on an extended layoff. Protection is provided up to 36
months, depending on length of service. Life insurance coverage during layoffs
is extended by six months for a total of 12. Employees now have the option of
taking a voluntary layoff or of remaining on layoff status if a less senior
employee is available for recall. Severance payments will be made if the
company is sold, even if it continues to operate. Local 766 sought this
language because the parent company has put this division up for sale twice in
Job bidding procedures are improved under the terms of the new
The monthly pension benefit is increased to $34 a month per
years of service, for all future years of service. Life insurance is increased
to $28,000 the first year, $29,000 the second year and $30,000 the third year.
The post-retirement death benefit is raised to $5,500. Sickness and accident
coverage increases in each year of the agreement to reach $315 per week by the
third year of the contract.
Dental benefit coverage increases by 10 percent; vision care
amounts also increase. However, employees will now have to start paying a
portion of their insurance costs. Local 766 negotiators successfully argued
for a larger than usual wage increase to offset those costs.
The UE Local 766 negotiating committee consisted of Pres. Jeffrey
Schwer, Vice Pres. Dennis Breitigam, Chief Steward David
Copeland, Fin. Sec. Kathryn Spurlock and Rec. Sec. David
Helmlinger. They were assisted by Intl. Rep. Dennis Painter.
UE News - 11/01