UE Local 1187’s new three-year contract with Load King will provide double-digit wage increases throughout the shop, with some senior workers seeing wage increases of more than $4.50 per hour. The contract also adds an additional holiday, preserves affordable health insurance, and carefully limits management’s ability to mandate overtime on Saturdays.
Starting Weld (Welder 3) wages increase from $15.82 to $18.00 per hours. All other positions in the plant are based on the starting weld wages, so will see a similar increase of more than 13 percent. For example, the laborer wage in the new contract is $16.20, or 90 percent of the starting weld rate, while the highest wage rate in the plant (Maintenance 1) is $22.50, or 125 percent of the starting weld rate.
The new contract gives workers the ability to further increase wages by testing into a Weld 2 ($19.80) or Weld 1 ($21.60) position. Similar options are given to Laborer, Painter, and Maintenance classifications.
Journeyman or seniority pay was also doubled, from $0.25 to $0.50, for all steps between 5 and 30 years. This resulted in some of the most senior workers receiving up to an additional $3.00 per hour. Leadman pay and night premium pay was also increased, from $1.00 to $1.50.
The union negotiated the day after Thanksgiving as an additional paid holiday, as a result of moving from a four-day to a five-day work week. Local 1187 members will also retain Chinese New Years as a paid holiday.
The percentage of health insurance costs paid by workers remains at the same, which resulted in a minuscule increase for the first year of the contract.
One of the most contentious issues of the negotiations was the company’s demand to be able to mandate Saturday overtime. In the final settlement, mandatory overtime on Saturdays is limited to workers with 18 or fewer months of service, no more than twice a month, and only after offering the overtime on a voluntary basis to all workers. Much consideration was given to this method and the settlement was arrived at as a way to limit workers’ exposure to mandatory overtime and as an incentive to stay at the job.
The negotiating committee consisted of President Justin Thompson, Vice President Lu Nguyen, Treasurer Tim Holmberg, Recording Secretary Bobby Allen, and Craig Rosenbaum. They were assisted by Field Organizer Jack Lasiter.