After twice rejecting concessionary offers from their employer, American Iron & Steel, and working without a contract for more than four months, the members of UE Local 1139 settled a new three-year contract in December that increases wages and protects insurance costs and jobs.
Wages will increase 70 cents in the first year of the contract (retroactive to August 2018), and 50 cents in the second and third years. The cost of single health insurance coverage decreased, and the increases for family and single plus one were kept very small. Local 1139 members will see some increase to their out-of-pocket costs but deductibles will stay the same.
The company is moving one of the major operations of the facility, a metal shredder, to a new location outside the Minneapolis metropolitan area due to environmental regulations. The union secured a clause guaranteeing that no UE members would be laid off because of this move, first right of refusal for all shredder-related jobs at the new location and, most importantly, language guaranteeing that if the company moves the remainder of the work, the members and UE contract go with the work.
The company tried to eliminate the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday but the local fought back and retained it. In addition, all workers with 15 years or less will receive an additional day of vacation as the result of a new law in the city of Minneapolis governing sick and safe leave available to workers.
Local 1139 members decisively voted down offers from the company that contained concessions two times. Members wore union stickers on their hard hats at work, and a majority of workers in the plant signed a petition demanding job security during and after the move of shredder operations. After their previous contract expired in August, Local 1139 members decided to work without a contract to apply further pressure on the company to settle.
The negotiating committee consisted of Chief Steward Paul Mattson, Treasurer Mike Plachy, and Ryan Lindstrom. They were assisted by Field Organizer Jack Lasiter and Western Region President Carl Rosen.