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By Saying No, Members Get Company to Say Yes; Local 1118 Wins Raises in New Contract at FCi
On February 17, members of UE Local 1118 voted to ratify a new one-year agreement with their employer, FCi. These workers process forms for the United States Customs and Immigration Service at its Chicago Field Office, run by FCi as a federal contractor.
The contract settlement came after a fast-paced month of struggle between the workers and management. FCi tried to avoid negotiating a new contract with the union, and instead pushed for an extension of the agreement already in place. This extension would not have included any wage increase or change in contract language.
The UE negotiating committee insisted on negotiating a contract with improvements, and the membership turned up the heat on management pm the shop floor. All members boycotted a management question-and-answer session. When the company presented the bargaining committee with its “last, best and final offer,” Local 1118 members unanimously rejected it and voted to authorize a strike. This shocked FCi and brought the company back to the table, resulting in a much better contract for the members.
The new contract includes a 40 cent hourly raise this year, along with stronger language on union stewards and cooperation. The union gained more hours each week for stewards to investigate grievances, and cooperation meetings between the company and union at least every three months to discuss outstanding issues.
The expiration date is February 18, 2018, which brings it closer to the expiration date for UE Local 228’s contract with FCi in Portsmouth, NH.
The bargaining committee included Local 1118 President Delores Philips, Steward Tosha Woods, and Financial Secretary Tavia Boldian. They were assisted by Field Organizer Sean Orr and International Representative J Burger.