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Upgrades Plus Wage
Increases Light Up
Wood River Settlement


Contract Settled ...

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 hour.

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 employer’s 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

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