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Concludes 25 Month Struggle —
First UE Contract
Ratified At Glastic

Sunday, December 17, 2000

By a margin of more than 95%, workers at the Glastic Corporation plastics factory have ratified their first UE contract, successfully concluding a 25-month struggle which featured protests from Jefferson to Japan.

The new pact includes a union shop, a solid grievance and arbitration procedure, limitations on the use of temporary workers, an improved shift differential and many other gains and protections for the approximately 120 workers at the northeast Ohio factory. Workers will receive a $350 signing bonus and three 40-cent wage hikes in a 4-year agreement which expires in November 2004.

The well-attended ratification meeting was spiced with strong member endorsements for the new contract as well as testimonials to the long struggle required to achieve it. UE members in several states, along with UE allies in other unions at home and abroad, contributed to the fight to organize this factory.


Following a narrow victory in an October 1998 NLRB election, Glastic workers first battled then-parent company Kobe Steel, the giant Japanese transnational, with a campaign that included outreach to workers at other Kobe-owned plants and demonstrations outside Kobe headquarters in New York City and Tokyo. The protest in Japan was mounted by the Japanese labor federation Zenroren, a UE ally. Other rallies and protests involving UE members in districts 7 and 6 preceded and followed the headquarters actions, including a Cleveland area rally and news conference sponsored by the Jobs With Justice coalition.

The plant was later sold to Cambridge Industries, a large U.S.-based company with several UAW-represented plants. UE undertook solidarity work with Auto Workers members as well as with members of the Paperworkers Union (PACE) employed at Glastic's sister plant in Cleveland.

The company changed ownership again, with Glastic separating from Cambridge but remaining with a subdivision of the company controlled by investor Richard Crawford of Michigan. Direct discussions with Crawford and the intervention of a federal mediator eventually became stepping stones to reaching a contract agreement. Also pivotal was a small mountain of unfair labor practice charges filed to challenge the company's repeated lawbreaking during the two-year contract fight.


The good result at Glastic also comes on the strength of an in-shop organization which took on the company issue-by-issue and grievance-by-grievance throughout the course of the long contract negotiations. The persistence of the leadership of new UE Local 758 — even while working to build unity among a workforce that remained deeply divided after the union's close election win — was the ultimate source of this important UE victory. They were assisted by UE Field Organizers Al Hart and Gail Francis and UE International Representative Deb Gornall. Other UE staffers also assisted a various times during the long contract fight.

(Note: We’ll post a more detailed version of this story in an upcoming issue of the UE News online)

UE News Online - 12/00

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