Upgrades Plus Wage
Increases Light Up
Wood River Settlement
Wood River Industries workers, members of amalgamated UE Local
155, ratified a new three-year agreement on Nov. 14. By a vote of 74-55, union
members accepted a pact which calls for wage increases totaling 85 cents
plus wage upgrades for 15 of the 26 job classifications.
These UE members produce electrical lighting fixtures.
The contract adds general wage increases of 30, 30 and 25
cents on all pay rates. Upgrades range from a high of $1.18 to 20 cents an
The classifications of Material Handler and Belt Supplier,
previously part of the broad General Factory class, were also created as part
of this upgrade process. General Factory workers may, if affected by layoff,
bump into the Belt Supplier class if seniority and ability permit. Also, the Leader add-on increases to 75 cents in Assembly and
to 60 cents over the job rate for Leaders in all other classifications.
Workers in classifications which did not get an upgrade will
also receive a $100 lump sum "signing bonus," payable by separate
check on the payday after Thanksgiving. For the first time, union members in
the Maintenance classification also gain a $50 annual work-shoe allowance and
a $50 work-clothing allowance.
The shift differential will increase from 10 to 25 cents on
the second shift, and from 12 to 30 on the third.
Other financial improvements include raises of 50, 25 and 25
cents in the pension multiplier, which will bring the benefit to $9.50 in the
third year and a $5,000 increase (to $15,000) in life insurance. Woodland
workers accepted a Keystone HMO with $6 generic and $10 brand-name
prescriptions, at these initial employee-contribution rates: single, $2.53 a
week; husband and wife, $18.08 a week; family, $25.73 a week, and the new tier
for parent children, $11.57 a week. (This last group had previously been
included in the family plan coverage.) All initial contribution rates are
lower than those paid in the final year of the expiring agreement.
Local 155 negotiated numerous improvements in contract
language. The contract extends recognition of the union to two satellite
warehouse/shipping locations in Riverside. Workers gain use of the two
personal holidays on a call-out basis. The seldom-used method for selecting an
arbitrator is replaced with selection "according to AAA rules."
Also, the layoff language is amended to protect those on the
job. The temporary transfer language now provides for exact wage guarantees
(including the Leader fill-in at 35 cents an hour). Wood River workers who
work 10 or more hours in a day gain an additional 10-minute break. The
contract streamlines how vacation is figured.
During these negotiations, the Local 155 committee
successfully rejected the employers attempts to institute post-accident
drug and alcohol testing, and rejected enrollment into a prescription plan
which called for $5 generic, $10 name-brand formulary, and $25 name brand
non-formulary after learning that many members were taking medications
currently on the non-formulary list.
The Local 155 committee consisted of Chief Steward Iris
Martinez and Stewards Helen Rivera and Michele Visconti (Assembly),
Brenda Maugeri (Shipping) and Gary Wheeler (Maintenance),
assisted by Field Org. Jim Ermi.
UE News - 12/00