Members of UE Local 329 who work for Kennedy Valve ratified a new four-year contract in June. The agreement includes wage increases of 3.2, 1.9, 1.4 and 1.3 percent and increases the pension multiplier for current employees by $3.
The local successfully preserved a one-rate system for healthcare, in which all workers pay the same regardless of family size. The company had wanted to make workers with families pay more in order to lower the cost for single workers, but the union’s commitment to solidarity prevailed. Although healthcare costs will rise, they were able to keep it to no more than $50 per week during the length of the contract.
The local also fought off a proposal from management to completely restructure the wage scale, which they correctly surmised would leave no money over for general wage increases. Instead, the contract includes equity wage increases for certain job classifications.
UE members demonstrated their unity by wearing union t-shirts in the shop during negotiations, and let the company know they were serious about getting a fair contract by taking a near-unanimous strike vote the week before the contract expired.
The negotiating committee consisted of President Kevin Elmquist, Vice President Alonzo Roberson, Chief Stewards Bud Decker and Ron Pfuntner, and Recording Secretary Missy McCann. They were assisted by Director of Organization Gene Elk.