Local 611 Extends, Improves
At Newell Porcelain
NEWELL, W. Va.
The 12-week strike in the summer of
1998 convinced the new owners of Newell Porcelain to deal fairly with UE
Local 611 a year later. Genl. Sec.-Treas. Bob Clark is shown here with
Local 612 strikers.
As they proceeded with plans to purchase Newell Porcelain, two
management officials eagerly sought a deal with UE Local 611. After all, Rick
Stanley, sales manager, and Dan Wolfe, controller, vividly recalled
the 12 weeks in 1998 when union members fought for a decent contract.
And they knew potential lenders, customers and suppliers had
not forgotten the strike, either — especially with Local 611 members still
proudly wearing their red T-shirts with the slogan "Summer of ’98 —
We Took It to the Streets."
Stanley and Wolfe, who became Newell Porcelain’s new
president and chief financial officer, let workers know they intended to
increase production standards by 12 percent.
Under these circumstances, the Local 611 negotiating committee
returned to the bargaining table to work out the details of a contract
extension with economic safeguards.
"We got a pretty good deal," says Local Rec. Sec. Mary
Ice. "We got more out of the new people than we did out of the old
owners when we were on strike."
The strike-won contract was due to expire on Aug. 3, 2002; the
improved agreement is extended to August 2005. Added to the wage increases
guaranteed by the 1998-2002 agreement, which total $1.25, are raises of 35
cents in 2003, 35 cents in 2004 and 40 cents in 2005. Workers will receive a
one-time $300 bonus in August 2002 at the start of the contract extension. The
shift premiums for both the second and third shifts are doubled.
A Christmas bonus will go into effect every year beginning
with the first pay period in December 2000. The bonus will be equal to $10
times years of service.
Beyond the 12 percent increase in production standards, there
will be no further increase through 2005, except as new pieces are introduced.
Vacation, Holiday Improvements
The 1998 negotiations broke through the two-year cap on
vacations, giving workers with 10 or more years’ service a third week of
vacation. Negotiations with the new owners adds a fourth week of vacation
after 15 years.
And the new agreement improves the rules for vacation
eligibility. Previously an employee had to work 1250 hours to receive full
vacation benefits. To qualify now, an employee must work 51 percent of
scheduled hours in the preceding 12 months; if out during that time on
short-term disability or workers’ compensation, the first 200 hours of leave
will count as hours worked. As a result of this change, two pending grievances
were settled to the workers’ satisfaction; both men had vacation time
The agreement adds two new paid holidays: New Year’s Eve,
effective 2000, and the employee’s birthday, effective 2002. Negotiations
cleaned up and expanded the contract’s bereavement leave language.
The company agrees to contribute another 10 cents towards the
The agreement with the new owners was ratified by the Local
611 membership in a 42-11 vote on Aug. 24.
The UE Local 611 negotiators were Pres. Alvin Allison,
Vice Pres. Michael Diddle and Rec. Sec. Mary E. Ice, who
consulted with Intl. Rep. Marion Washington.
UE News - 12/99