Tolland County Fire Dispatchers, members of UE Local 222/CILU Sub-local 76, have negotiated and ratified a new four-year contract. Bucking the national trend, these workers gained retiree medical insurance for the first time, while substantially increasing their wages.
The new agreement, which goes into effect July 1, 2008, will provide each worker, after retirement, with up to $800 for medical insurance. If the policy costs more than that, the retiree will pay the difference.
Meeting here January 17-18, UE’s national leadership body, the General Executive Board, reviewed UE’s work in organizing, political action, and leadership training.
Iowa City, IA
We reported in the December 2007 UE NEWS that the University of Iowa had sued UE Local 896/COGS, in an attempt to escape their obligations under contract language they agreed to earlier last year, specifically language requiring them to give the union job information about employees the union represents.
Members of Local 1135 at Tulip Corp. said “no” to a discriminatory and insulting “final offer” from the company, and called the company’s bluff when it tried to force acceptance of its offer by illegal threats. As a result, for the first time they forced the company to improve its final offer, and they achieved equal percentage raises for all workers.
St. Albans, VT
On January 21 – Martin Luther King Day – Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I) was enthusiastically welcomed by workers at Stanley Associates, who are organizing to become members of UE. The union has petitioned the NLRB for representation elections for 400 workers in Vermont. Two days after the Vermont rally, UE petitioned the NLRB to represent an additional 600 Stanley workers in Laguna Niguel, CA.
Workers at Ralston Foods voted unanimously on January 23 to affiliate their independent union with UE. The vote was 140-0. Just a month earlier, these same workers had voted in an National Labor Relations Board election to leave a do-nothing union that had represented them poorly, and in which they did not have their own local union. By a better than 90 percent margin in the December 19 vote, more than 200 members opted to form the Independent Food Operators. There are 230 members in the new bargaining unit – they produce breakfast cereals.
South Boston, MA
Resisting a frightening list of company concession proposals, and in the wake of layoffs and the movement of some of the shop’s work to Mexico, UE Local 262 members at Cole Hersee – who manufacture electrical and electronic switches and connectors for the vehicle industry – have negotiated and ratified a new three-year contract.
UE Local 1421 members faced a very tough battle in their latest contract negotiations with chemical manufacturer Stepan, and they did not come out of the fight unscathed. But with more membership involvement than ever, they made some important gains and minimized the damage the company was able to inflict.
Making their situation more difficult was the fact that the California UE Stepan members were the last to negotiate after other unions in the company had already been battered into accepting pension freezes, and the other shops had worse health insurance.