Member involvement paid off in this year’s contract negotiations for Local 1160 — their new four-year contract with Roth Pump includes hefty first-year wage increases, as well as improvements to the 401(k) and the way that members move through the pay scale.
The committee put out bargaining surveys to all members. Members ordered UE t-shirts and had everyone wearing one on the opening day of negotiations. After three full days of negotiations, there was still no agreement, with the biggest disagreement being on the company’s proposal for inequitable wage increases that would give some members more than double the wage increase of others.
A final day of negotiations was scheduled for Saturday, November 23 with the contract expiring on the following Wednesday. The members held a meeting on Friday night before negotiations and gave the bargaining committee a strike authorization vote in the case that the company did not improve their proposals at the next day’s meeting. The company did improve their proposals and the committee reached a tentative agreement with the company that was ratified and signed just before the contract expiration on November 27.
The new contract removes a starting wage that was $2 below top rates, while fighting off the company’s attempt to creating a “trainee” position even further below the top rates. The company further agreed to move members up through the pay scale as skills allow, rather than waiting for job postings. Members won an increase in automatic 401(k) contributions (on top of any and all match payments) from 1.7% to 2.0%, which is paid at the end of the year – meaning the increase applies to all hours already worked in 2019. The first-year wage increases are range from 3.3 to 6 percent, with the average increase being over 5 percent. All members will receive two percent wage increases in each subsequent year of the four-year agreement.
The Local 1160 bargaining committee consisted of Chris Walters, Paul Slusser, and Derek Collins. They were assisted by Field Organizer Jason Whisler.