As EIS Wire and Cable emerged from three years of bankruptcy under new ownership, the members of amalgamated UE Local 264 employed at the South Hadley plant faced tough challenges. The venture capitalist group that bought EIS recognized the union but not the contract.
UE members entered negotiations with three goals: get as much money up front as possible; because ground had been lost in previous negotiations, restore as much contract language as possible; get health insurance costs under some control. All three goals were met.
A company push for concessions was blocked when an overwhelming majority of workers signed a petition opposing surrender of any past gains.
The three-year contract raises wages by 5.5 percent, 2.5 percent and 2 percent. The health insurance formula is changed so that employee costs will not rise as fast. The company is obliged to make larger contributions into employees’ 401(k) accounts; the contract increases life insurance, sickness and accident benefits and the shift differential. And union members got back 15 language items previously lost in negotiations.
The negotiating committee consisted of Roger Decker, Pat Funk, Joyce Kletotka, and Hank Kwiatkowski. They were assisted by UE Field Org. Paul Ryan.