Local 420 Members Okay
Star Porcelain Contract
Local 420 members recently ratified a new three-year agreement with their
employer, the Star Porcelain Co. by a margin of approval of better than three to one.
Star Porcelain workers produce a variety of custom porcelain insulators
for the electrical industry, as well as other specialty items such as extruded porcelain
Coming off a two-year contract achieved after a month-long strike in
October 1995, Local 420 members were determined to win a fair agreement this year.
Their new contract, effective Oct. 1, 1997, contains wage increases of 3
percent immediately, 2.25 percent effective October 1998 and 2.25 percent effective
October 1999. Incentive base rates for each labor grade will be adjusted to meet the
contract condition which sets them at 80 percent of the corresponding hourly rate.
Incentive workers can earn up to a maximum of 135 percent of their base.
In the Wet Press Dept., press operators are upgraded one labor grade. The
committee also succeeded in increasing the third-shift premium by another 5 cents an hour
to 45 cents. Employees with 20 or more years of service also see .5 percent increase in
their vacation pay, from 8.5 percent of their prior calendar year earnings to 9 percent to
complement their four weeks of vacation time. Maintenance mechanics will be paid at the
next higher labor grade (about 75 cents an hour or more) for all hours spent performing
electrical repairs on plant systems or production equipment.
Language gains include clarifying the probation period for new employees
at 90 calendar days, establishing a clearly-stated posting and bidding procedure, and
adding language which calls for employees hired through temporary agencies to be subject
to the terms and conditions of the agreement. Another major issue is concluded with
setting the new Extrusion Dept. classifications and corresponding labor grades. With
numerous instances of workers cars being vandalized during second and third shift
hours, Local 420 gained the right of employees on these shifts to park inside a fenced lot
adjacent to the company offices, instead of out on the street.
Local 420 successfully fought off company attempts to lengthen the time
before an employees insurance is reinstated upon return from layoff, sickness,
injury or personal leave. The company had also sought to change from three calendar months
to 180 workdays before a new employees insurance coverage would begin.
FOR PHYSICIAN CARE
The company also tried to get language which would make it easy for
management to terminate any employee out of work under a physicians care, unless the
employee jumped through a series of hoops regarding deadlines for providing regular
statements from the doctor. To their credit, UE committee members refused to budge.
To protect workers departmental seniority, the local also rebuffed a
proposal to combine the Kiln, Placing and Drawing departments into one entity. This was
the companys reaction to a worker with more than 30 years seniority
instead of managements favored candidate getting a job bid on the basis of
plantwide seniority. (Under the contracts posting and bidding language, departmental
seniority is the primary method for awarding a job. If the job is not or cannot be filled
from within the department, then plantwide seniority among bidders prevails.)
The UE Local 420 committee consisted of Pres. Linwood Rowell, Vice Pres.
Jim Keim, Treas. Ralph Schooley, Rec. Sec. Elouise Pearson, Carlos Nazario and Maria
Belardo. They were assisted by UE Field Org. Jim Ermi.
UE News - 12/97